category: Advent

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 11

Wednesday,  December 13

Malachi 2:10-3:1; Luke 1:5-17

It is around this time of year that one question is asked by family, friends, even strangers alike. It comes up in conversations from those who know us well or at the register from a chatty clerk. The question I often hear this time of year is, “Are you ready for Christmas?” The question implicitly asks, are you ready for what has become the traditions of our time with decorating, gift buying, dinner gatherings, and all the social events during this season? In other words, are you prepared for the onslaught of a treacherous consumerist machine to take over your life? From my observation, because this season has become so overwhelming, most people answer this generalized question with an exhaustive, “No!”

In Malachi 2:10-3:1 a key theme arises, which is the people of God have turned their backs on the covenant of old and become faithless. The exaggerated laments do not impress a God who remembers faithfulness. He is not influenced by a people who champion evil and those who do it. God’s people have shown disloyalty to the agreement by not keeping their commitments with one another. This unfaithfulness has led to further reckless behavior of allowing idolatry to invade their once unadulterated lives. But God had a plan—a messenger!

The arrival of the Christ, Jesus, the faithful witness, was the plan, which includes a forerunner, one who will prepare the way for his coming. In Luke’s Gospel we find Zechariah and Elizabeth, a faithful married couple living according to God’s way. God honors their commitment to one another with this child who will prepare and make ready the people for the Christ. When covenants are made, they are intended to be kept; they are, however, often broken. The answer to a broken covenant is to return. In other words, go back to the one who is faithful. In Malachi 3:7 the Lord promises to return to those who do so.

May we intentionally take time to prepare for the celebration of retelling the story of the birth of Christ, for it is good news of great joy that he was sent into this world. May this preparation include the evaluating question: Are we living faithfully or faithlessly? Have we profaned the new covenant? What have we allowed that God hates? As God worked through John the Baptist, he is also preparing the Church to be found faithful and herself ready for the return of Christ! We will never be ready for a Christmas that is not truly celebrating the birth of Jesus. Nevertheless, we can be a people who are ready and prepared for the One who is called Faithful and True in Revelation 19:11. Let us be found faithful; let us be found ready!

Will Davis
School of Divinity Graduate

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 10

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