Wednesday 23 December
Today is Wednesday the 23 December in the fourth week of Advent.
Jonathan Veira sings “In the Bleak Midwinter’. As you listen, you might like to spend a moment recalling where God has been speaking to you during this Advent season… where have you felt close to God? How have you discovered God’s presence in a new way?
Today’s reading is from the prophet Malachi.
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
Christmas always runs the risk of being sugar-coated. Smiling children, perfectly behaved; presents chosen with care and received with gratitude; festive choirs and food and drink in abundance, although very different this year. The prophet Malachi seems to think that God appearing will be rather more challenging. What’s your first reaction? Whenever God appears, our own motives and plans are tested. Some will fit well with all that God hopes for in this world. Others, maybe less so. If God is present here and now, in this time of prayer, what does that say to the plans you have for today and tomorrow? Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenges presented here, Malachi thinks of God’s appearing as a time of hope. As you listen again, pick out what it is that the prophet is hoping for. As Advent reaches its climax, speak to God of your own hopes for his arrival this Christmas, after such a difficult year...