The First Sunday of Advent
by Ken Junkins

The beginning of Advent, the season of awaiting and anticipation of Christ’s arrival, is the perfect time to reflect on Malachi. The very last book of the Old Testament prophesies the coming of The Messiah. This is the last word before the Good News.

Malachi 3:1
1 “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.”

The people of Israel had been waiting a long time for the Messiah and were getting restless. Malachi’s message about the coming of the Lord was written more than 500 years before the birth of Jesus. The Israelites had a lot more waiting to do. We in this modern age are so antsy to celebrate the birth of Jesus that we start seeing holiday decorations far too early (some might say not early enough), and start hearing the celebrating carols months in advance.
The Book of Malachi is a book of questions and answers, and Chapter 3 verse 1 is not only a prophesy message from God, but it is also an answer to some questions. Those questions are in the previous chapter:

Malachi 2:17
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” …
Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

This first question, to me, sounds an awful lot like the question asked in Matthew regarding the Final Judgement:

Matthew 25:37-39
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

It seems to me that in the time of waiting, before Advent, we should be seeking justice. If we are to do the Lord’s work and live a more Christ-like life, what better way are we to occupy our time of waiting than to do justice?
Jesus said, “…whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do…” (John 14:12)
Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, is a time of waiting and of preparation. But what is it that we do in the time prior to Advent? Do we just sit and wait for the arrival of “the God of Justice”?
The people of Israel also ask where is justice? And Malachi answers, ‘The Lord is coming’.
The answer to this is, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these … you did it to me.’

Reflection Questions:
What injustices have you seen this past year?
What justice have you worked towards?
What can you do in next years’ time of waiting to do the Lord’s work?

Prayer: Holy God, open my ears so that I can hear your call, open my eyes so that I can see injustice in the world, open my heart so I can do your work in the world. While I joyously wait, fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I may spend my time of waiting doing your good works. Amen