by Doug Anderson
Advent celebrates the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, the one we know as Jesus. God fulfilled his promise, as foretold in Scripture, but the manner in which he did this was unexpected. The fulfillment did not fulfill the expectations of the religious community that was longing for God’s Promised One. The vast majority of Jesus’ religious community did not like, or accept, him as their Messiah. Truth be told, it is likely that we too find it difficult to like and accept Jesus on his terms.
Spend a few minutes reading Matthew 5:1-48 as you celebrate this Christmas season. How do Jesus’ standards and expectations square with your values and lifestyle? If and when you feel the discontent, the restlessness, the urge to change, it’s likely a sign you really do need to change. God’s judgment falls heavy on those who, in fear or stubbornness, don’t address their growth issues; God’s grace overwhelms those who do.
The words of Malachi remind us that we end this Advent season in anticipation of the second coming of Christ. The Day of the Lord is coming just as surely as a child was born unto us.