Malachi 3:1-4 – See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.
Long ago in the ancient Middle East, and probably in other areas of the world as well, when a king decided to tour part of his dominion, he would send a courier, a messenger, ahead of him to tell the people to prepare the roads for his coming. In the absence of paved highways, there was no doubt that the king had good reason to make his demand. The journeys would be long, slow, and bumpy, even by the best of standards in those days. After the arrival of the messenger, pot-holes were filled in as well as possible, and rough spots were removed or smoothed over.
John the Baptist was like this kind of messenger, sent ahead of Jesus to prepare the way for his coming, his advent. John was only the latest and most significant of a long line of messengers whose job it was to tell people of the coming of the Messiah. For centuries, the prophets had been the messengers telling of his coming. The name "Malachi" means "messenger"; he, too, tells of the need to prepare the way for the one who is coming.
Always, God is continually creating and reforming history, giving us messengers in every age, to let us know that he has already and will continue to act within the context of human events, to save us. Like the people of Bible times, we need to hear the stories of the ancient messengers over and over again, because otherwise, God becomes too distant for us. We need to hear how God has acted and intervened in people's lives.
The message is still the same: God came into the world in human form, risking everything, to save us all. Prepare the way, once again, for Jesus Christ to come into your life.
Prayer: We praise you for coming into the world and giving yourself to us, in the person of Jesus Christ. We thank you for the message of love that he was born to bring to all people. Help us, O God, as we attempt to prepare ourselves for his advent. Help us to make the rough places of our lives smooth, in our preparations to receive him. Amen.