Wednesday – December 17, 2014: The Reward of the Faithful

Malachi 3:16-18

16 Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name. 17 They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. 18 Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

I love my daughter more than anything or anyone in this world; however that doesn’t mean that I like everything she does, as she has often strayed from the paths that I wanted her to take, and caused me a lot of worry and stress; and there are times when my heart ached over my daughter and the choices she was making for herself…choices I often felt powerless to do anything about…because I am! Even though I know this it can still be very frustrating!

However, this frustration is not one-sided as she does not love everything I do either!

I am first (well maybe second) to admit that I have some minor personal flaws, and that I am not a perfect parent! There have been many times when I have acted rashly, unfairly and out of my own hurt feelings, overreacting to situations out of worry for my daughter or the frustration of feeling powerless.

Yet despite sometimes falling short of each other, making bad choices and even annoying each other on a regular basis, we have never stopped loving each other…and never stopped having faith in that love!

As single parents we have learned (or are learning) that the love we share with our children transcends any of our faults…as it is love without condition.

This is one of the ways our relationship with our children can be like the one that we have with our ‘perfect parent’ who is God!

In today’s reading from Malachi, we are told that God is keeping track of the faithful: those who are righteously following God’s commands, and the Prophet tells us that on the day that God acts to restore the world His glory, that those who have been faithful will be spared from God’s furious anger (yes I am paraphrasing again).

On the surface of it, this does not seem like such a bad deal for those of us who follow Christ, but as we look deeper it does tend to put a lot of pressure on us to be the best we can be, implying if we fail we are all but doomed…and failure is something we seem to do so well.

However there is always good news: and today it is that God has already acted, knowing that we could not live up to such high expectations of near perfection, and so God has given us grace…seen in the soft light of the manger on Christmas, with the birth of Jesus!

With the coming of Christ into the world God has made us all righteous…even though we are not all that perfect. Through Christ God reaches out to us in love and compassion, offering us forgiveness and hope…letting us know that we are all His children, and just as we love our children, we too are loved despite all of our flaws!

Through Christ we are all bathed in the light of God’s grace…and as followers of Christ we are called to share this gift in the midst of our broken world: the light that can heal us, restore us and support us through the darkness that can often overwhelm us, both in terms of world events, and due to the struggles of raising our children…and the heartbreak that can often blot out the great joy of walking with them through life!!

On this day, and every day we need a little Christmas in our lives…we need the light of God’s grace…and as we share this light it only grows brighter, and give us all hope…hope that we do not need to be perfect Christians, perfect people or even perfect parents…that our world does not need to be perfect, as we are loved by the perfect parent: God, who loves us unconditionally, just as we love our own children; and this freely given love which we share is our reward!!

Let us Pray:

God, thank you for being the only perfect parent…and for loving us without condition, even though we often fall short of this gift. Let us carry the light of your love with us everywhere we go…sharing the very spirit of Christ, the joy of Christmas with a world that truly needs this gift of healing love. Help us to remember the power of love and share it with each other: our children and ourselves; for where the light of Christ shines there is hope and healing…and there is joy!

Amen

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