In today's Gospel from Matthew we heard proclaimed, "John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths."
This season can be a busy time as we prepare for Christmas. There are gifts to provide, houses to be cleaned, decorations to be hung, and travel plans to be made; but the most important preparations we make are those that ready our hearts to receive our Infant King.
John the Baptist was sent before Christ to prepare His way into people's hearts by bringing them to repentance. Advent is a time for us to make straight the way to our hearts, to fill in what is missing (charity, patience, humility, etc.) and remove what is a hindrance (pride, vanity, greed, etc.). By straightening the roads to our hearts we prepare to welcome Jesus at His coming this Christmas.
The cleansed be every breast from sin; Make straight the way of God within; Prepare we in our hearts a home Where such a mighty Guest may come.
(from Jordanis ora praevia by Charles Coffin)