Prepare the Way of the Lord
BY JUSTIN WHITE | December 7, 2020
Sunday’s Readings – Second Sunday of Advent
“How are you doing?”
When I’m presented with that question my response these past months has been, “Keeping my head above water…” A reference to the theme song of Good Times. I really cannot think of a better image for how I’m handling all that is happening in the world and in my own personal and professional life. I’m not a great swimmer, but I love the water. So the image of myself, in an adult sized life vest, in the middle of an ocean ebbing and flowing between calm and thrashing waves pretty much sums up my socio-emotional well-being. Can you relate?
Over these months I feel like I have learned to expect the unexpected. There has been so much out of my control that the idea of having a set plan seems futile. People continue to lose loved ones to this devastating virus. One week schools are in hybrid, another week they are virtual, only to be followed by hybrid again. To say that the Presidential election was a roller-coaster would be a huge understatement as people sat and wondered how the next four years of their life, and beyond, would play out. Even though my scrolls through Instagram and Facebook are met with baby photos, engagement announcements, and perfectly plated meals—I still scroll with trepidation. I am fearful of another name preceded by a hashtag, fearful of another video.
How can I prepare for anything in this state of mind? Then I read “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” Then I remember that it is Advent. I realize that I can prepare because I know exactly what is going to happen…Jesus will be born. I can prepare because I know exactly what Jesus will bring—redemption, comfort, healing, peace, understanding, love, joy and justice. This is one event that is completely out of my control, this is one event that will highly benefit my soul.
I want to close by sharing a text exchange between myself and my friend Lauren:
Lauren: I have to keep reminding myself that the pandemic doesn’t magically end on Christmas because we waited four dark weeks. I have Disney princess brain.
Me: Lol. Pandemic won’t end but hopefully Grace is felt a little deeper and Hope a little stronger.
Lauren: Amen. I was reading that the enemy can’t emulate the fruits of the spirit, so as we experience patience, we should rejoice instead of groan since it’s a fruit. A true gift!
I encourage us to take advantage of the chance to rejoice this season!
And as I wrote this reflection, I received a picture of one of my best friend’s second child! Welcome to the world John James Dougherty VIII, I dedicate this reflection to you.
Justin T. White is a middle school counselor, admissions associate, and clubs and activities coordinator at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland.
It’s nice to read another of your reflections. What you speak of is common ground for all humanity even if we didn’t have an active part in some of it. CHANGE has rocked our boat leaving only what we need-God. You are so fortunate to have the position of theology teacher! God has not changed-never has-never will. The answer is right there. We are the ones who need to change-big time! The silence we have been afforded with the pandemic is not by coincidence “me thinks.”
Tempted at times to fear and anxiety we can realize there is a lot of solid ground for us-that we can trust-but in so doing we have to open our hearts to listen to God’s message of love. And then, we have to listen for Him.
You have a great opportunity for leadership in all of this. No politics, no baloney, just truth-and right there you have Jesus Christ and His mother at your side.
What do you think of the appearance this month of the Bethlehem star-so rare an occurrence? Listen for more…..
Peace and love Justin. I would love to be in the classroom with you-evangelization at one of its best opportunities.
Nice reflection. Thanks Justin. Peace.
Arundhati Roy wrote a book entitled “The God of Small Things” that resonated with: “Each day is a gift from God”. It has become a mantra for me in the midst of preparing for the Incarnation. Each day becomes part of a crescendo of love to God the Father for giving us His Son, Jesus. I prepare by being with Him at Mass. I prepare by smiling at the person next to me. I prepare by noticing the output of love by teachers for their students. I prepare by praying with others. I prepare by offering others snacks in my building. I prepare by constant and persistent welcoming of others with their spiritual gifts. I prepare by praying for those who have no one to pray for them. I prepare by praying for those who are getting vaccines for the first time, the health care workers, the grocery workers, the people who work in fast food. The energy of this group is amplified by all of us joining in prayer for them.