I met delightful people from England on the tour today. We had Christmas Pudding with tea, the steamed plum puddings in vintage molds from the world of Charles Dickens. We compared receipts. They boil theirs for hours. I just walked home with my husband from two Christmas parties, with the temperature in the upper 60’s tonight, in the 70’s during the day this week. There is a magic in Christmas in Charleston walking South of Broad at night that is a hush and a wonder, with the clear Christmas lights matching the twinkle of the stars in the dark night above. All is calm; all is bright, with Christmas wreaths and garlands of cedar and pine with red bows on our piazzas and doorways. We have a fruit board above our door, a tradition of the family we bought our house from almost 18 years ago. It is a gift from Ruth Edmunds every year. Camellias are coming into bloom, and calamondin oranges and persimmons are turning ripe orange. My neighbor has a “popcorn berry” wreath from the Chinese Tallow tree that is a work of art by the Gullah culture selling at the Four Corners of Law at Broad and Meeting. All is well. All seems right with the world; for in our dark streets shineth The Everlasting Light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Him tonight.
John the Baptist as the prophet Isaiah foretold it, was a voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Have you noticed that people everywhere will talk about traffic and road work like the weather in their surroundings? John the Baptist, though in the wilderness, observed what his culture saw happening in the background surrounding their daily lives. The enemy was encroaching. They were making inroads to their world of the Holy Land. The Romans were doing the unthinkable; they were building a high stone road in the desert to get this Holy Land territory they had conquered and were incorporating into the Roman Empire. Their stone roads of many layers were built to last. With the money we spend on roads, maybe we should consider the once a millennium building of roads by the Romans.
Just as John the Baptist saw the Romans were building high stone ways in the desert to connect the Roman Empire, John the Baptist was hearing what God was saying to them on the reverse side. God was saying, “I want to come to you, suddenly and speedily. Get prepared! Make straight in the dry, neglected, barren, desert wastelands of your life a new road, a highway for our God.”
Have you noticed the world is getting surprised by alarming ”suddenlies”? The terrorist attacks come on us suddenly, like September 11, like the mass shootings in Charleston’s Emmanuel Church on Calhoun Street, like the Paris and San Bernardino shootings. That Voice as Big as the Sea is saying to all flesh, to those with ears to hear, that we need to be prepared for the Lord Jesus’s Second Advent. His first Advent was sudden. “And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and saying, Glory to God. And Peace on earth and Good Will be unto all men.” He says His Second coming will be suddenly, like a thief in the night, and who may abide the day of His coming? Those who hear the Voice as Big as the Sea, go out into the still of the night and listen to the Still, small Voice. He is saying the echoing words louder than ever, Prepare ye the way of the Lord’s return. Make straight pathways in your brain, and in your habits to be prepared to receive Him when He comes again. To as many as receive the Messiah, to them gave He power to become the sons of God. Every generation must be expectant and pass on the preparedness to the next, for as I show on my tour with the Guilloche pattern in interior woodwork, the chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
Do you hear what I hear? Leave me a comment or call for a tour reservation. Tours are at 9 am with breakfast, ending with tea at lunch time.
Laura Wichmann Hipp 843-708-2228