By Deacon Derick Cranston
In 1956, President Eisenhower signed into law the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act. It took 64 years to build 42,500 miles of highway with 92,200,000 tons of asphalt and cement. A stipulation of the law required one in five miles of the Interstate to be built straight so airplanes could land in emergencies.
In Scripture, we hear John the Baptist proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and crying out “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths….” John’s call to make straight the paths and repent of our sins echoes down to us through the ages.
Life is not a perfect journey, and many times the way becomes crooked because of the many distractions that prevent us from making God the center of our life. We will always experience bumps in the road and unexpected curves that frighten us.
We may even lose our way and become lost. When we let ourselves become distracted from God’s way, personal demons begin to surface. We all have them, and we all need to be on guard against them. This year has definitely taken us all down a rough and dangerous road.
A virus that infects millions, racial tension and political dissent have probably brought out the worst in us. We disagree and disagree and then disagree some more. Our personal demons see an opening and want to lead us down the wrong path.
However, just as Eisenhower had the foresight to require one in five miles of the Interstate to be straight, our church fathers had the foresight to make Advent a time to straighten out our life. Advent is a time to ground ourselves, refuel our spiritual tank and fix what needs fixing.
It will not always be easy; we have no guarantee of lifetime fixes. We are all a work in progress and, just like the Interstate, the infrastructure of our life will always needs upgrading and repair.
Soon we will celebrate the birth of an infant named Emmanuel, which means, “God is with us.” These difficult times will pass, we anticipate a vaccine and hope is on the horizon. We always have hope when God is with us.
(Deacon Cranston is pastoral associate for St. Mary Parish in Riverside, Holy Trinity Parish in Richmond and St. Joseph Parish in Wellman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)