A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” – Isaiah 40:3

“Are you ready for Christmas?” For most of us that question raises a great amount of stress and anxiety when our to-do lists are an arm’s length long. However, there is more to that question than what many of us realize.

Over the centuries, Christmas has been referred to as the Advent of Christ. That’s appropriate; advent literally means “coming.” For centuries leading up to Jesus’ birth, God spoke through prophets or messengers to go and prepare His people for the coming of the promised and long-awaited Messiah, who would be sent to rescue and deliver them.

One example of a prophet who did that was Isaiah who wrote the verse noted above. By using the words “wilderness” and “desert,” Isaiah painted a picture of a barren wasteland, which mirrored God’s people’s spiritual condition. The reason for such bleak imagery was due to God’s people having chosen to turn from God to seek after their own desires, rather than trusting God and following His lead.

When you think about it, that doesn’t seem that far off from most people today. We prefer to choose our own path, and we feel we know better than God in regards to what is best for us.

Yet, in the midst of man’s turning from God, Isaiah, as the other Biblical prophets, consistently made statements like “prepare the way for the Lord” or “make straight a highway for God” which called people to turn their hearts back to God, because His advent or coming was near.

At the birth of Jesus, the promise of the coming Messiah was fulfilled. Jesus, came to save humanity from sin and death and to offer us life. In Romans 6:23 we read “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” and in John 10:10, Jesus describes the kind of life that He offers “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.”

That is why Jesus came. That was the purpose of the long-awaited and promised Messiah. God sent Jesus into the world to save all of those who would turn their hearts from this world back to God.

So, when the question is raised “Are you ready for Christmas?”, think beyond the to-do lists and look at your heart. Have you accepted the gift that He offers or is your heart restless as you seek fulfillment through this world?

During the busyness of this season, choose to shift your focus from your “to-do’s” to what He has done through His coming. That is what Advent is all about.