Malachi 4: 5-6; Luke 1: 68-79
I want us to shake our fantasy of Christmas by checking ourselves about who really owns this season? We believers and followers are called to live differently—striving not to conform to what a consumerism world has been, but to keep awake and to shape our lives to reflect the hope of things to come.
One of today’s passages, the book of Malachi, the author kept remembering Elijah, he kept thinking about him, and he kept wishing for him, as a prophet. The more Malachi thought about Elijah who had marked their past so decisively, he was sure this same Elijah would mark their futures as well. He did not know ‘how’ but he was sure.
And in the gospel of Luke, the other one of today’s passages, Elijah was the one again remembered and recalled when the angel spoke to aged and barren Elizabeth about the coming of the baby John the Baptist who prepared the way of the Lord. Yes, all of today’s passages kept pondering the ancient Elijah and the Elijah to come.
Although Jesus was not Elijah, he was just like him. Additionally, the name of Elijah kept popping around Jesus. Yes, Elijah is a key figure to Jews and to Christians that God has not abandoned us but has kept a promise—turning the hearts of the parents to the children and the hearts of the children to their parents; kept giving a new chance over and over again, rather just coming with a curse.
The world where ancient Jews lived, or the time early Christians lived, the world seems remaining the same now as it was then, filled with selfishness, scarcity, temptation, anxiety, or greed. Everyone knows the world is at an edge. We know about the violence, war, abuse, discriminations, poverty, hunger, and exploitation. We all know the world in our very moment is not healthy, but we know it to be sick unto death.
However, we are not hopeless. Rather we are the ones who believe that God is not done yet, but is still making, intruding, and transforming our Advent over and over again. God is not done yet, bringing life and hope into our nightmare. God is not done yet, exposing false religion such as “the religion of money” that will not work. God is not done, yet, challenging and shaking greedy systems and people that abuse a widow or a little one.
Every year at this time, no matter how old we are, we wait for something good, and we hope for something better. What we have to remember is that in our celebration, someone is fading out; someone is missing; someone is absent. Someone who has promised to come has not yet come but will advent again.
I highly encourage us to pause, to stay away from a frenzied world, and to make enough space inside of and around us for the absent one, Jesus Christ, who is the only owner of this season,
and fixin’ to become present, and even to intrude to make all things new.
Thanks be to God.