Isaiah 40:3-5
          A voice cries:
           “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;  
                make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
             Every valley shall be lifted up,
                 and every mountain and hill be made low;
          the uneven ground shall become level,
                 and the rough places a plain.
             And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
                 and all flesh shall see it together,
                 ‘for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Decorating for Christmas is fun for me.  I like to start early in the season with the process so we can enjoy it longer.  My favorite decorating tradition is setting up my ceramic lighted Christmas village.  My father gave me my first piece many years ago as a Christmas present.  It is not what I particularly wanted.  I did not have my own family then and really could not anticipate much enjoyment from a lone shop found in Victorian England.  Sensing my disappointment, my father just smiled and said “it will become more important to you as the years go by and other pieces are added.” 

My eyes were not sparkling with excitement the next few years as I opened the village gifts, but eventually it was starting to mean something to me.  My village started to grow.  My family began and grew.  Now, years later, I love to display my nostalgic village that captures Christmas from long ago.  At one time or another, each one of my children have helped arrange the village buildings, the homes, the chapel, the people and the landscape, but I am the one who unpacks and packs the boxes for the display.  There is a significance in this process to me.  My thoughts go to a loving father who orchestrated a plan for a beautiful ending. 

As the Christmas season approaches many thoughts come to mind: the hope that Israel had for a promised Messiah, our need for a Savior to save us from our sins and an anticipation for the second coming of Christ.  In Isaiah 40:3-5, God is the speaker and John the Baptist the voice in the wilderness crying out for the preparation of the Lord.  Matthew Henry says “it is the same duty we are called to, in preparation for Christ’s entrance into our souls.  We must get into such a frame of spirit as will dispose us to receive Christ and His gospel.”  In Luke 3:4-6, Luke uses this same scripture to show that John the Baptist has fulfilled this prophecy as the forerunner to Christ.  These scriptures cause me to truly contemplate the deep working of God in our hearts as we celebrate the first coming of Jesus and anticipate His second coming.   

~ Leigh Simmons