“Yes, he is surely coming,” says the Lord Almighty. “But who can endure his coming? … He will purify the Levites, the ministers of God, refining them like gold or silver.” - Malachi 1:1-3 (TLB)
The woman quickly arranged the poinsettias above the fireplace and ran upstairs to get dressed before her guests arrived. She and her husband had invited a few close friends to a holiday dinner and celebration. The amount of time and energy she’d spent preparing food and decorations for such a small group seemed inordinate, but she had looked forward to the gathering with excitement and she wanted everything be just right.
Shortly after the dinner portion of the event, she received a text from her doctor’s assistant, stating that the doctor had not approved the increased dosage of pain medication she’d requested. This immediately triggered a panic attack, and she had to excuse herself from the party.
After some fifty minutes, when she rejoined her husband and guests, she could see the look of concern on their faces. Her husband said to her, “Sweetheart, we all love you, and we’ve all seen how your increasing dependency on medication is affecting you. Would you mind if our friends shared their stories and experiences?”
As she listened to her friends talk about what they’d learned about addiction to prescribed medication, she realized that her joyous celebration had turned into a much needed intervention…with the food and poinsettias only serving as background material.
We all may be ready for the happy celebrations that accompany Advent, but according to Malachi, the coming of the Lord is not just about rejoicing, but refinement. Advent is not just a celebratory occasion. Advent is a call for self-examination. Are we ready?
Lord prepare us for the purging and the purification that must accompany your appearance. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.