The last prophet preached. The last chapter was written. “See, I send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come, says the Lord Almighty” (Malachi 3:1). This prophecy was proclaimed about 450 years before the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and John the Baptist (the messenger). Faithful Jews knew the promise but had to wait for generations. No other prophets stood up during these years to proclaim, “Thus says the Lord!” Teachers of the Bible frequently refer to the years before the coming of Jesus as “the silent years.” However, God did not abandon His Word or His people. He was at work—even when outward signs seemed absent. Then one day the sun arose! “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4). Finally, God’s promises, like the waves of the sea, swept over humanity. The message of Christmas is loud and clear…God keeps His promises! Our part is to learn to trust Him and to wait for Him. As we look around us, it doesn’t take the gift of discernment to see that we are in difficult days. Sin abounds. God is mocked. Many have lost hope. But let’s learn patience from the Word. James tells us, “Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:7-8). Our waiting and trusting in God is not in vain or wasted time. All farmers know that what is patiently sown today reaps blessings later. We work and wait for Jesus to return. Before He comes again, He is also at work drawing people to himself and giving us of His Spirit to live like Jesus. The joy of the Lord awaits us. We will also proclaim one day, “Then…it happened!” In the words of the prophet Malachi, “…suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come….” Let the truth of Christmas fill you with gratitude for His past faithfulness. But also, be filled with hope as you patiently await His soon return!
Pastor Mark Boucher