Sunday's reading of Isaiah Chapter 40 is perhaps the definitive passage on what Advent should mean to us. Handel's Messiah brings it so beautifuly "Every Valley Shall be Exalted..." In looking at Sacred Scripture, there are many levels whereupon God speaks to us. Isaiah is speaking to the people of his time, exhorting them to prepare for the return from exile. St. Mark brings to light that this "Voice that cries out in the desert" is John the Baptist, who in turn is preparing the people of his time to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, the Christ.
Isaiah wrote "A voice cries out:In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!Every valley shall be filled in,every mountain and hill shall be made low;the rugged land shall be made a plain,the rough country, a broad valley."
In 2011, today, this very day the message to God's people, those baptised in Christ, His Mystical Body, is this: Prepare yourselves for the Incarnation, the birth of the God-Man, Jesus, which we celebate in our liturgical season of Advent. We celebrate this not in just a historical remembrance of an event thatn took place some 2000+ years ago, but here and now, for Jesus is always being born, in the hearts of those who wish to recieve Him. The message can also be understood this way. If we are lacking or have "pot holes," maybe even "valleys" in our virtuous life, we can prepare to "fill them in," how? by perhaps the Sacrament of Penance is a good, place top start, seeking repair and healing, rebuilding what does mesure up to what God desires of us. Another problem could be the hill of our prideful and puffed uo existence, where we are too self-absorbed, not seeing God from the proper perspective of a humble servant, not recognizing Him for who He is. Finally, are our "landscapes" filled with junk, rocks, obstacles, from our sinful lives that we lead? Is our soul"littered"? Can we "smooth" things out and make paths to Christ direct. That is what we can take from Isaiah as we proceed this Advent, towards the day when the infant Jesus arrives.