Preparation seems to be a huge slice of anything we undertake. Even when I am washing up, I prepare the plates by clearing them of scraps, of rinsing the drinking cups, of emptying any used saucepans and so on. Then I begin the washing up.

Planning a garden bed is similar. Organize the tools, dig out wayward grasses, pull out weeds, form firm edgings and plan space for each plant to be planted.

Or we are used to preparing things such as shopping trips (how many times have you forgotten to take your shopping list?), visiting friends -- you usually phone them ahead of time and offer to take with you whatever they might need. Oh, and don't forget to buy your travel ticket or put fuel in your vehicle!

We are good at preparing so what do you suppose Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:3 and Luke 3:4 meant us to understand when they quoted, "prepare ye the way of the Lord"?

Of course, Isaiah, Malachi and Psalms had said it long before they did so I began to try to work out how it applies to this humble reader. What on earth could I do to prepare the way of the Lord? It is far too great an event for simple me to make any 'way of the Lord' worthy of such an event.

Nobody in their right mind would even think of asking me to prepare for anything so significant so why was it put right there where I would inevitably read it? Was I being told to 'plant trees up the driveway,' or 'mow the lawn,' or 'get your neighbors together to put flowers in the windows and pot plants on the front steps?' Would that be what was meant?

Years ago I remember when the 'way' in this area was being prepared for the Queen and any suggestion that I could begin to do anything worthy of royalty is laughable. How much less for the Lord of the whole universe!

Then almost by accident I found out that the word, 'prepare,' has special meaning. As used by Matthew, Mark and Luke at least, it means to prepare spiritually. Now it makes sense. Heart and mind must be prepared if His coming means well for anyone.

The farmer might be harvesting wheat, the cattleman might be fencing a new cattle-yard, the shopkeeper might be helping to re-stock his shelves, the nurse might be applying a bandage, a mother might be doing the washing for her children, a father might be on his way to work to earn his wages.

You or I might simply be going about our daily duties but at every moment we can still, "prepare the way of the Lord." (Mark 1:3 NLT) We will have had those moments of free time or 'easy' time when we can have prayed for His grace, or read Scripture assuring us of His grace. But when we are busy with daily chores, we might simply think a silent prayer asking for all we love to be covered by His grace.

No matter what you or I might be doing, we can "Prepare the way of the Lord" in its spiritual significance in our corner of the world.

So you will join me won't you? Please, please?

Elizabeth Price