‘The crooked shall be made straight’

Christmastime brings performances of Handel’s Messiah, a beautiful oratorio with text from the King James Bible. It includes these verses from the book of Isaiah: “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (40:4, 5).

When I hear the words “Every valley shall be exalted,” I am reminded of the qualities of magnanimity, spiritual discernment, and patience that I want to see exalted, or magnified, more consistently in my daily life.

Unlovely traits that we tend to identify with—ones we may think are ingrained in our nature—can seem as solid and permanent as mountains, but the Bible’s promise is that “every mountain and hill” will be brought down and “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.” Even those traits that don’t seem that bad (the little hills), such as criticism, impatience, and temper, will eventually be “made low.” A sure sign that I need to begin to address them in my prayers is that I feel dissatisfied after I’ve indulged in them. They don’t feel natural to me. I know I can do better! 

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December 24, 2018

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