Prepare Ye…

As I write this, Christmas is just one week away. You probably don’t need me to remind you of that. Nor do you want me to ask you if you’re ready for its coming. So, I won’t.

But I will offer you a little something to help you get ready. I call it a DoxaMoment. You can think of it as 10 minutes of preparation. Rather than preparing for the coming of Christmas, however, we’ll be preparing for the coming of Christ.

Let’s first take a look at Isaiah 40:3, where the prophet heralds His upcoming arrival with this exhortation: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

In the time of monarchs and unpaved roads, servants were sent out days – perhaps even weeks – ahead of a king’s planned visit throughout his realm. These servants were sent to prepare “the way of the king.” Their appointed task was to smooth out the rough spots and fill in the holes, leveling the terrain to create smooth, unhindered passage for the royal processional.  Such a big deal was made of the preparations because it meant a great deal to the people for their king to venture out among them. The people thrilled at having an up-close-and-personal leader. And such preparation signified their honorable welcome of the king. Their king.

With that information as background, let’s make our own preparations. We’ll begin prayerfully with Elijah:

Kneel on your mat or a carpeted floor with hands on the floor. Pull your torso back to rest on the heels of your feet. Lower your head to the floor and extend your arms out in front.

James tells us that, “Elijah was a man just like us” (5:17). And – like him – we can experience the power of a prayer-filled life. Let’s ask the Lord to slow our pace, calm our minds and ready our hearts to receive Him this Christmas.

Moving from Elijah to Prone, lift your torso slightly to give yourself the mobility to move your upper body forward while sliding your hands along the floor until you can lie flat on the floor, forehead to the ground, hands on either side of you next to your ears. Forearms rest on the floor; hands are pressing into the ground.

More significant than the physicality of the position is the heart, or spirit, of Prone. Prone is a position of reverence. (Refer to Joshua 5:13-15). It is in lying prostrate on the floor that we recognize the distinction between our lowly station and the exalted status of the Lord. Here, no words are needed; our posture speaks for us.

Next, raise your forearms off the floor and slide your hands back to align them with your chest in order to leverage your upper body off the floor. Move back into Elijah, briefly.

From Elijah, come up onto hands and knees with shoulders directly over your hands and hips over the knees.  Here we get further instruction through Isaiah as to what it means to prepare the way of the Lord and make straight a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:4 says this: “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.” And it is the Scripture that informs our position, Hill and Valley.

In this hands-and-knees position, inhale and arch your back up, “tucking in” your backside and lowering your head, to create the “hill.” Slowly and deliberately exhale. Relaxing from “Hill,” level your back for one complete breath and think or utter (on your exhale) these words, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Now inhale and relax your spine into a curve to create the “valley” while lifting your head and looking upward. Slowly and deliberately exhale. Relaxing from “Valley,” level your back for one complete breath and think or utter (on your exhale) these words, “Make straight a highway for our God.”

Scripture is, in no way, suggesting that we have to have it all together to receive Christ. But we do need tender hearts and open minds. The Lord is hoping to find those who are thrilled at having an up-close-and-personal leader. That’s all the preparation that is needed.

Return to Elijah. You might want to repeat the movement, following this sequence: Elijah-Prone-Elijah-Hill and Valley-Elijah-Prone.

Now… if someone (not I, of course!) asks you if you’re ready, you can say most assuredly, “That I am!!!”

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