Still Time to Put Things Right
by Soren & Ever Johnson
“Make straight the way of the Lord!”
These words of St. John the Baptist (and before him, Isaiah) may as well be the motto for Advent. As we journey closer to the birth of our Savior, we can’t help but want to make things right.
To better understand what’s going on in these holy days, just think of the hours leading up to hosting guests in your home. We dust and vacuum, clean windows, and scrub floors. When that knock comes, we hope our guests will appreciate how we’ve straightened and tidied everything. We hope they’ll enjoy the beauty and comfort of our home, and that they won’t see cobwebs or trip over piles of stuff.
But if we’re honest, we know that sparkling windows and glowing tabletops are only the first step of hosting. Our guests, after all, will see us at a deeper level when we sit down and share our lives with one another. Not to be overly dramatic, but they’ll look into our eyes and glimpse our souls. If we’ve been arguing with our spouse or kids, we hazard to say—speaking theoretically, of course—our guests will pick up on that and be uncomfortable. They’ll see that while the home is lovely, something more important is amiss.
As your family—your domestic church and Trinity House—approaches the birth of our Lord, you’re probably like us in that you’ve begun to “make straight” your home by decorating, putting up the tree, and brightening up the windows and tabletops. Just the other day, our family made a cozy fire and decluttered a few closets and cupboards as our kids made their first batch of Christmas cookies.
That’s all fine and good. But especially in Advent, we are invited to go deeper than surface decluttering and decorating. We need to use these precious days to “make straight” our relationships—first with our Lord through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but then with one another in our families, friend circles, neighborhoods, and workplaces.
Have we begun the true work of spiritual decluttering? When the infant Jesus encounters our families in just a few weeks, will our guest find not only a pretty home with gifts, lights, and food—but also that we have forgiven, reconciled, surrendered our resentments, and prepared our communion of persons to receive Him in love?
How easy it is to get caught up in all the good feelings of a home with surfaces gleaming for Christmas! But in the days remaining, let’s not stop there. Let’s lift our eyes to what is possible: the opportunity to welcome the Prince of Peace into a home that is gleaming with the faces of those who know and experience true love’s forgiveness and communion.
“I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”