Preparing the Way

by

The church that first saw a call in me, Divinity Lutheran Church, no longer exists.

 

The building exists. The people who worshipped there remain a part of the Body of Christ, albeit scattered in different churches. Yet, the building that I knew as Divinity stands as a funeral home now.

 

After a merger and eventually closing, Divinity was bought by a funeral home. Now when I drive by the building I see the parking lot that I turned into as a new driver. The lawn brings back memories of worshipping under the stars and making s’mores. I see the potlucks and worship services. I remember the lock-ins and early morning Easter pancake breakfasts. I hear the choir singing. I see myself standing in the pulpit preaching on youth Sundays.

 

I remember all the people who were a part of preparing the way for me to recognize my call.

 

Someone is always preparing the way for us.

 

In Advent we are especially aware of what it is to prepare. We get ready for family celebrations. We make lists. We bake cookies. We attend the Christmas concerts and cookie exchanges. We travel to see family. We write Christmas cards. We plan services. We practice with the choir and bells.

 

We prepare our hearts to welcome the baby born in a manger.

 

It’s not only during Advent that we prepare. Every day of our life we seem to be preparing for something.  

For someone.

For a new job.

For a degree.

For a test.

For a promotion.

For a baby.

For retirement.

For treatments.

For renewed health.

For the perfect look.

 

Advent invites us to sit in these waiting periods and trust that something bigger is happening. Advent says to us: I see you. I see your desires. I see your work. But rest and wait. Someone is preparing the way for you.      

 

Our Advent scriptures show us John the Baptist preparing the way for someone greater than he. Mary and Elizabeth preparing their hearts and minds to welcome their babies. Zechariah and Joseph following the words of angels as they prepare for the birth of their sons.

 

Someone is always preparing the way for us.

 

When I drive by my first church home and see the funeral home, I can picture years of raising disciples and faithful worship. I see people who knew how to recognize gifts in others. I see the breaking of bread. I see the studying of scripture. I see the Body of Christ.

 

I see a people who knew what it was to prepare the way for others.

 

Advent, a season of preparation, invites us to give thanks for the people who have prepared the way for us; the people who have loved us, taught us to forgive, shown us grace, and shared in abundant joy with us. As we prepare and wait, Advent also invites us to prepare the way for others; to tell of God’s grace, to proclaim Jesus’ love, and give thanks for the hope found in the baby in the manger.   

 

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/

 

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