When I read Isaiah 40, I hear "Every Valley" from Handel's Messiah resonate in my mind. How incredible that the prophet spoke words of longing for a Messiah using road construction images. He speaks of making a highway in the wilderness, making the path straight in the desert so that every valley is lifted up and every mountain is made low, the rough places made smooth. He beckons us to get out the tractor and the shovel and make a way for the coming of Christ.
In my tradition during Advent, we have a Chrismon tree with symbols of Christ on it in the sanctuary. Maybe we should have an Isaiah tree, too. It could have hardhats and shovels and bobcat ornaments. We could hang dump trucks and cement trucks from the branches, and let's not forget the little leveling tools with the green bubbles in them. Those would be cute!
Advent is a time of clearing the way for Christ, the true WAY, to come. He yearns for a place in each of our hearts. He longs to bring love and justice to a broken world. We don't have to go find Jesus or get our hearts right before him ... these teachings are a remnant of many painful versions of ancient moralistic heresies. We don't go get Christ, Christ comes to us in pure grace. That's what the incarnation is all about. That's what Christmas is all about.
Maybe road construction is what Advent is all about. We don't drive to Jesus, but our part is to make space for him to come.