Yesterday John the Baptist challenged us to "Repent!" We often think of that word in connection with a threat of eternal damnation. However, the call to repent isn't about changing our behavior or else, and it's not about punishment in the next life. It's about changing our minds about others in this life. We are called to see others as equals and worthy of our kindness, service and prayers.
Advent preparation gives us another opportunity to change our hearts, moving away from judgement into acceptance of those we find hardest not to judge. Each of us, unfortunately, has a list of people we judge for reasons that are not acceptable under the reign of the Christ child. We are a people who fell far short of God's expectations and yet, were spared judgement on the cross. We can live lives free from judging others, giving us the opportunity to serve those we used to judge.
Let's try this. Choose one person or group of persons that for whatever reason we have decided are unworthy of our understanding or forgiveness or love. Then, let's use the time and energy we expend on judging them to learn about them, forgive them or pray to God to release us from our judgmental hearts. This is what it means to "Prepare ye the way of the Lord."