Ah, yes, snow-covered mountains. And a desert valley. Quite the contrast to the plains of Iowa and Minnesota, the only other places where I have permanently hung my hat. A most poignant reminder this Midwestern boy has been transplanted to a different time zone.
Mountains, valleys, deserts, and plains. The varied topography I have encountered this year reminded me of this passage:
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. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.So, those of you who visit this infinitesimal corner of the universe, I ask you this: How was your preparation this past Advent? Have you removed, as best as you were able, the obstacles in the way so you could get to the Way? Are you ready to see the glory of the Lord, brilliantly disguised as a baby in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger?Isaiah 40:3-5
Don't worry if you were not successful. (Trust me, I wasn't.) Fulfilling that task is a lifetime process, not one which can be completed in four liturgical "weeks". Progress is also a blessing. Him Who we seek, in His eternal Word, continues to call us to Him. If we hear Him (remember the word "obey" has as it Latin root the word meaning "to hear") and seek Him, His guarantee is we will find Him.
So, like those being enrolled that first Christmas, like the shepherds, like the Magi, we go "to Bethlehem to see this thing that has take place," because we "saw his star at its rising and come to do him homage." We find Joseph and Mary being the holy parents they are, caring for their Son as best as able, surely full of curiosity about all the visitors who came to see the Child, slowly understanding the words they heard from their own angelic visits. We contemplate with our souls what we see with our eyes. We gaze at the Babe; unknowingly, we see the face of God. We meet Love; cor ad cor loquitur. Venite adoramus, Dominum. Hodie Christus natus est.
Tonight is just one stop on our journey of faith; we know there will be more. The first place is the Manager. The next place is the Cross. The final place is the empty Tomb.
The search is over when we grasp this with our whole being.