December 13th Advent Devotional

Do you smell what I smell?

Shawn Reyburn

Malachi 1:10-11

 From out of the midst of the Temple comes the voice of Malachi; an insider, a prophet, and a messenger of God, but what does this teach us about Advent, or about anything. In some ways it seems that God is petty or angry and is being the petulant child. Unwilling to accept the sacrifice of the people. It would seem that the door in which Jeremiah stands to deliver his sermon is meant to be shut and barred as the people are offering weak incense and their second best. Crimes from the past that ended with the death of Abel and the sons of Aaron. In the Psalms we are reminded that God does not desire sacrifice and offerings (40) but a willing heart (51). Perhaps during this busy season of anticipation and lists we might be reminded that God is interested in the condition of our hearts not the decorations in the narthex. Perhaps the incense being offered in verse 11 are the prayers of a faithful remnant, which is waiting in anticipation of a God who keeps promises and will return to embrace the faithful Church, the broken pottery of God’s people. Here right in the middle of Advent perhaps we should take a few minutes and reflect on the condition of our heart, on the sweet smelling or gag inspiring aroma that pours out of our studies, our churches, and our hearts. God has asked time and again for us to be ready; to be expectant for the return of the King. Is something burning?

Holy God, be with our thoughts today. Help us as we begin to feel more pressure during this holiday season to turn our hearts and minds to you. Strengthen us like Malachi to speak the Word which you have given us and to trust that you have our back. We pray for grace to abound in and through us, as we lift our hearts in praise. Amen.


R.Shawn Reyburn is a pastor in the PCUSA. He serves the Columbian congregation in LaFayette, NY just south of Syracuse.

©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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