On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me a man to usher Him in (Malachi 3:1).
A sister told me she heard financial guru Dave Ramsey say this: “Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. They’re actually broke.” In this season a lot of us needed to hear that, like months ago. We skipped paying bills, maybe worked some overtime, borrowed some cash or charged our cards to the limit to buy our children Christmas toys so they wouldn’t feel left out, so we wouldn’t feel left out, so we could keep up with the Joneses. We forget that as Christians, we were never meant to fit in, to be like everyone else, and that includes how we operate during the Christmas season.
Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.—Malachi 3:1
Here in Malachi God the Father tells of the role of John the Baptist as the herald of the Lord Jesus. In Matthew we see John in action and as a man who wasn’t trying to fit in and didn’t care a bit what people thought about him.
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,” Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.—Matthew 3:1-8
John was a minimalist so he could focus on the maximum message of the coming of Christ. This is our message: to minimize things that gratify our flesh so we give fully to ministering the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He came. He died. He rose again. He did it for all and will be with and in all who accept His sacrifice and receive Him as Savior and Lord. This is what we are to give at Christmas, caring less about what’s under the Joneses’ tree and more about who may not be in their hearts.
Copyright 2010 by Rhonda J. Smith