First, a big thank you to you all—the church looks lovely! The hanging of the greens was a wonderful time, and I deeply appreciate the effort that each of you put into it.

Secondly, the decorating has gotten me to thinking about preparation work. Advent is the season where we talk about preparing ourselves for the coming Christ Child. One way we do that is through decorating, but we also do that in many other ways. What do you do differently in this season to prepare yourselves? Are you spending time differently—say more time with friends or family? Are you giving of yourself differently—say more time or treasure spent on supporting others? Does your prayer life look different—say an advent devotional?

Whatever it is, I hope you are doing something differently to mark this time. I think that is part of what advent preparation is about, finding a way to do things a bit differently. This week we move to our second Hebrew word—”Taher” or “purity.” This particular word is coming from the prophetic book of Malachi. While there is much to be said about what purity meant to the ancient Israelites, one thing that may be unique to Malachi is what purity means in the context of a totally changed world that no longer works the way that it once did. Malachi raises questions about what purity means in a very different world than the one that so much of the Hebrew scriptures were devoted to. In some ways, I think there Malachi has much to say to our world where today is so very different from yesterday. What does purity mean in that context?

On Sunday we will spend some time wrestling with that as we continue to do things a bit differently and as we continue to prepare ourselves for the coming Christ Child.


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