Day 20 — Friday, December 17

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Luke 3:1–6

Like John the Baptist, I, too, spend a lot of time in nature. I feel at peace in the woods or by a body of water. The stresses of the day-to-day seem to dissolve. I hear God speaking through his creation. 

So, how would I respond if God gave me a sudden calling to “Go! Prepare the way of the Lord and make his paths straight”? Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? What if I needed to leave that safe haven at once and bring the Word of God to new places that were very different? Similarly, what if a co-worker asked you to write an Advent devotional for the entire Hope community? And, typically you stick to art and design – not the writing portion. 

If I were to be totally honest with myself (and you), I would most likely deny I heard the call correctly. “That can’t be meant for me to do…”  I would also most likely make up a bunch of excuses of why I’m not equipped. I would think “someone else who has more experience” can do this more effectively than I can. 

Well, I listened to God’s calling this week and stepped out of my comfort zone. I pray that my honest words and response to this passage speak to your hearts like it did to mine. It is easy to stick to our normal surroundings and behaviors. But, God likes to pick unique characters — ones that may be a little more unexpected.

Let us all prepare the way of the Lord and make his paths straight. Let us share the good news of Christ the Lord with everyone, so that they may repent and receive the forgiveness of sins.

Samantha Bruin is a graphic designer at Hope College.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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