2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; 3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”
We read this as a call to preparation, a call to hastily clean up our act before the Holy Child appears, a call to straighten up and follow the path to God. But we forget about the ones who came before. There has been waiting and preparing going on for centuries upon centuries of generations. The word “Hebrew” is from the root “avar”, which means “to wander”. What we have is a story of a people journeying home. What we know is not the whole story, but merely a chapter of an incredible epic that God has written on our hearts.
Lately, I have gotten back to working some more with my family history, trying to figure out who came before, who was on the path before me. I realized that I had quite a few pictures of the generations of women in my family–my grandmothers, my great-grandmothers, my great-great grandmothers, and even some great-great-great grandmothers. So I set to work scanning and printing and framing and arranging and created a “Wall of Women”, those women in my family that are part of me. I have eleven pictures on the wall and I and the rest of my family are now looking for others. Of those women, I only knew four–my mother, both my grandmothers, and my Great Grandmother Stockdick. And yet, I know them all. They are part of me. They are the ones that have prepared the way.
Jesus was not just plunked down from the sky into a manger. Jesus came, God with Us, after eons of the earth straining to see the Light. He came into centuries upon centuries of waiting journeyers, those who had prepared the way for his coming, not know what that would be but knowing that it would be. Those that came before are not just a prelude to the story but are part of the story itself.
We, too, do not just appear on the scene. We are part of the story–all that came before us and all that will come after us. And a little more than two weeks from you when you sit in the sanctuary surrounded by candlelight knowing that, yet again, the Light has come, you will know that it does not just appear. It comes after centuries of waiting; it comes after years of your life preparing for it and journeying toward it; and it comes at the end of this darkened season of Advent. We journey not knowing what will be but that it will be. We enter a Way that has already been prepared and prepare the Way ourselves.
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, 4and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5and Solomon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6and Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,* 8and Asaph* the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,* and Amos* the father of Josiah, 11and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.* (Matthew 1: 2-16)
(1)Catherine Coffman Morrison, the mother of William Patrick Morrison, who with Hattie Aurelia Brockway Morrison, was the father and mother of Zeta Helen Morrison Stockdick; (2) Mary Angeline Egbert Stockdick, the mother of Adam Henry Stockdick and Sarah A. Klaiss Young, the mother of Elmira Young Stockdick, who, with Adam Henry Stockdick were the parents of William Chester Stockdick. (3) William Chester Stockdick and Zeta Helen Morrison Stockdick were the parents of Ruth Mary Stockdick Williams, (4) Mary Elizabeth Little Williams, the mother of Lester Leon Williams, who with Ruth Mary Stockdick Williams, were the parents of William Don Williams, (5) Helene Sitz Krause, mother of Agnes Helene Angeline Krause Reue, mother of Helen Louise Reue Williams, (6) William Don Williams and Helen Louise Reue Williams, the parents of Helen Michelle (Shelli) Williams.
Reflection: Who has prepared the way for you? How are you being called to prepare the way?
Grace and Peace,