Just in time for Thanksgiving, I-40 is now open. Knoxville greeted me with orange barrels and the obligatory, "it's almost finished" two years ago. Now we have smooth driving from the church to Pellissippi Parkway and back. Or in preacher terms, "I can get to Parkwest hospital and back without packing a sack lunch."
Isaiah, road crew for the Hebrew Bible, and John the Baptist, engineer of paving in the Gospels, would have been proud. Both announced, "Prepare the way for the Lord," and "make a way in the wilderness." For Isaiah, it meant a desert road from Babylon to Jerusalem. Not exactly the highway to heaven, but it would mean hope for the Israelites. John posted signs along the highway announcing a Person coming who was mightier than he.
Advent is about repaving the roads and pathways of life. It's about putting up the orange barrels and redirecting our energy toward a Messiah who has come and will come again. The project requires setting new priorities, paving over the holes of sin with the material of forgiveness, and taking direction from the Supervisor of the heavenly contstruction project. It's not an easy task, but the world needs this kind of direction in life.
We know it won't be easy, and one paving project often leads to fixing other parts of a road. Even in Knoxville, by this time next year, they will close downtown in a attempt to fix the clogged arteries through the center city. But for this Thanksgiving, we are grateful for a job completed, for lighter commutes, easier access, and the hope that new directions will bring.