John the Baptist is the voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight!” This always makes me think about what the Romans did when they made roads, doing extensive grading and filling work, so that the road is straight and level, regardless of what the terrain was previously. John was a dramatic person posing a dramatic challenge, but even more he was the messenger proclaiming the return from exile, the great jubilee, the moment when God would return to Israel and abide in her midst. In Advent we are anticipating the arrival of God in the midst of Israel in the birth of Jesus. And we are also anticipating the return of the King when the glory of Jesus will be seen by the whole world.
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”