The holidays usher in a time of family connection and renewal of our closest relationships. Our hope is for a Norman Rockwell-style perfect family gathering.
But what if the reality is closer to WWIII for you and your parents?
What if your adult children won’t even send you a Christmas card let alone come visit you for the holidays?
Maybe a prophet like Elijah could help you.
As the Old Testament draws to a close, God says these final words through Malachi to a people at war with him and with one another:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6).
God will win in the end.
That’s a great source of hope for all who put their trust in Him and a source of terror for those who tragically do not.
But before the end, God shows mercy again and again. He calls us to Himself in special ways. One such way was a prophet who was to come before the final day: Elijah. Ultimately I believe this coming of Elijah will be in two stages: First in John the Baptist (see Luke 1:17) and much later second at the end of history (see Matt 17:11).
What does the ministry of Elijah or John the Baptist or any other prophet have to do with your family tensions and mine?
God aims to capture the hearts of fathers and children.
In Malachi’s day parents were estranged from children. Children, younger and older, were not respecting or honoring their parents. In our day not much has changed, and you may either be feeling that estrangement or perhaps even the cause of it.
Please pause today and pray to God once again. Seek Him humbly.
Every prophet truly sent from God calls the parents, the children and everyone else to repent before Him, to humbly fear Him (Mal. 3:16). When John the Baptist came, he called on people to look to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who came to die for those who had rejected Him and rebelled against Him. He is the hope the prophets point us to. Jesus Christ is the answer to our family tensions and troubles.
So, friends, I don’t have any practical tips for how to manage your family tensions around the table. But I know the one who can transform the hearts of all in your family. Will you yield to Him this December? Will you seek Him for the heart transformation that will unite you and your estranged family members around the worship of the King?
Through Christ, God has proven that He’s already turned His merciful heart toward you.