Jesus speaks these words in today's gospel, "And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear."
The anticipation and expectation of Elijah to arrive on the scene prior to the Messiah was a big deal in the Jewish Religious sensibility.
The prophet Maalchi is the one who insist on this fact, Elijah will return to point out the Messiah.
So the anticipation was great and the expectation was greater. Either seemed to be a problem.
As people anticipated Elijah's return they expected him to come back the same way he ascended to heaven, on a fiery chariot.
The problem was that this expectation actually hindered the ability of the folks to recognize and receive the gift of Elijah's return. They were so insistent that it had to be one way that they closed themselves off to the immense and limitless way God works.
It was necessary to expect the coming but it was the expected ways of return that clogged the mind and prevented proper recognition of John the Baptist in the spirit of Elijah.
How often do our own expectations hinder what we expect and our ability to celebrate the arrival of such a fulfillment of expectations.
We see this at Christmas on a small scale. We anticipate our gifts. We expect certain things from our loved ones. Often times because we want what we expect when the gift comes in a different form then we don't celebrate the gift given or received.
Truth be told it isn't the gift we are after but the love of being remembered and thought about that makes Christmas christmas.
We do this in our daily journey with God. We want God to come into our life. We anticipate and expect this unfolding yet our expectations on how this should happen can hinder our ability to receive it when it finally comes.
We must be open. We must let God be limitless and boundless so that when he comes we recognize it and are transformed by it.