Just a day or so left in Advent, and with one last chance to prepare our hearts for the great feast ahead, we hear from Malachi—the final prophet recorded in the Hebrew scriptures.
As I reflected on Malachi’s words today, I noted their singular drama and power:
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
The deepest longings of our hearts are about to be fulfilled…and it has absolutely nothing to do with the presents we’ll find under the Christmas tree a few days hence.
Yes, the Lord is coming…and Malachi seems to sense our unease.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
And yet, for some reason, we are not terrified at the prospect of this promised purification.
We are not terrified, because we have known the Lord’s mercy in our lives. We have felt the refining fire of Christ’s forgiveness – and the tenderness of his desire to wash us clean.
It’s hard to imagine so great a love. Just as it is hard to imagine why God would choose to come among us in the first place.
These are profound mysteries, enfolding inestimable grace. And I’ve found that it’s extraordinarily fruitful to savor them…by listening to Patti Austin, as she sings this memorable setting of Malachi’s words. Enjoy!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.