Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Thursday, December 3, Morning
By Rev. Monty Walton
What Are You Waiting For?
Read Malachi 4:1-3
“Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash – a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you’ll tromp on the wicked.
They’ll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. (The Message)
Advent is a time when Christians anticipate our joy at the coming of Jesus in power and light. But the prophets tell us that the day we are anticipating will not be a happy day for everyone. For the “arrogant evil-doers,” Malachi paints a frightening picture.
One of my favorite Christmas movies is The Nightmare Before Christmas (yes, I am weird like that). If you don’t know the storyline, Jack Skellington, who rules over Halloween, decides to take over Christmas. Jack’s goblins deliver tricks rather than treats for Christmas morning. The children who had been eagerly anticipating Christmas got quite the surprise. Christmas came, but not in the way they had expected.
We observe Advent to remember that Christ promised to come again; but have we forgotten how he promised to come? He will come with rescue and healing, but he will also come with authority and justice.
So, who are these arrogant evil-doers? The arrogant are those who are not humble before God, choosing to devote more worship to things that they have created than to the creator of all things. The evil-doers are those who do not pursue social justice, who ignore the needs of orphans, widows, and refugees (the powerless)… awkward silence
This year, as we anticipate the return of Jesus, let us remember all that his returning entails. Let us focus on what we will bring to Christmas instead of focusing on what Christmas will bring to us. When hardships test our patience, it is our all-knowing and powerful God who will, in his timing, lift our burdens and give us the patience to wait for better things ahead. Be still and know…
Lord, we pray daily for an end to violence and injustice, and so we eagerly await the coming of the mighty King who will bring us peace and justice. Be with us in our waiting. Teach us to use this time to examine our hearts and souls and to repent of our blindness to the suffering and needs of your other children. Remind us that you will come in glory and mercy, but also in fiery righteousness. May you find us humble and merciful on that day. Amen.