“Comfort ye my people,” cried the tenor, “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
For the hundredth time, I heard the music pivot, and I heard the words of the Prophet on the lips of a young man I do not know, and the proclamation rang forth.
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low. The crooked straight and the rough places plain.”
And for the first time hearing this music, I heard it. It reduced me to tears and prayer.
I am the mountain; at times the valley. There are rough places in me, there are crookednesses that must be straightened out.
The world is filled with the lowly, teeming and yearning for their deliverance. The world is filled with the 1%. In my society I am not one of them; in other societies I am wealthy beyond measure. There are injustices and evils, roughnesses, wickednesses, crooked roads of systems and sins that destroy the vision of this world.
But I was reminded in the pivot of a tenor’s voice that the highway we build is through our hearts and through our worlds. It does not conform to the strictures of the terrain, wind and wrap around and twist and climb mountains and plunge through valleys. The highway we make for our God in ourselves and the world exalts the meek and lowly, humbles the proud and powerful, rebuilds what is broken, and smooths out the sufferings of the world.
We predict and wait in Advent upon a Christ whose birth drives out the fear, that proclaims good news, a Christ met by poor and rich alike, a manger in the meanest cave exalted to the most sanctified space in creation.
There is much in my life right now that stands in need of healing and wholeness. There are worries. I cried when that music pivoted, I wept at its beauty and its truth, and my tears were both contrition for my faults and joys at the promise that God-with-us in Christ has promised to build Her great highway through the center of our heart, and our world.
Advent began for me, truly, this night. Maybe a bit late, if the church calendar is to be believed, but thanks at last be to God.