Read Malachi 3
Focus on verse 1
The Christmas season has always been my favorite time of year. I look forward to it every year and usually feel a tinge of sadness as it slips away in the New Year. I think it is the expectation that builds as it approaches that I enjoy most, and when it actually arrives it is often quite different than what I had envisioned, but I typically find ways to enjoy it no matter how it ends up looking.
I do remember quite clearly the Christmas that it first occurred to me that I must be growing up. It wasn’t that our family did anything vastly different than we had the year before; it was just that the childhood wonder of it all seemed to have diminished for me, and I found myself grieving that loss just a little. In some ways it was possibly a good thing as it was also when I began to realize that Christmas really was not about me, or presents, or candy, or decorations, though all those things made it special. In a sense, I was perhaps experiencing a similar feeling that the people of God experienced after waiting hundreds of years for the promised Messiah to arrive. Malachi is the last prophet to relay this message – after which they waited another four hundred years before that first Christmas when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. (v. 1)
When Jesus did arrive, He didn’t seem to fit the expectations that the people had of Him. In fact it wasn’t really until after they had rejected and crucified Him and He reappeared alive that it began to dawn on some of the people that perhaps this was way bigger and better than they had anticipated.
In my brief experience with God so far, I have found that quite often I grossly underestimate what He has in mind for us. I like to think that I have some semblance of control of my life, and perhaps by God’s grace He humors me and allows me to live in that delusion, but every once in a while it seems as though He likes to remind me that my expectations of Him are seriously short of His reality. Most often I find this realization exhilarating, occasionally it is closer to terrifying, and I’m sure there have been times when I have just entirely missed the mark altogether.
I guess the point is that if we consistently could walk in obedience, faith and power as followers of Jesus this world would likely look a little different than it currently does. The problem is not God’s ability or willingness but ours – more specifically and personally – mine. I am the one who consistently fails, while He is the one who consistently is there to pick me up, dust me off and encourages me to give it another go.