Jesus said, “If only you knew on this of all days the things that lead to peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:42, CEB)
The stores have already marked down their merchandise for post-Christmas sales, and the Valentine’s Day candies are already starting to fill the shelves. After weeks of preparation – or, for many of us, outright celebration – there is a tendency to rush through the observance of Christmas so that we can move on to the next thing. I wonder, though, if that tendency is healthy. The days following Christmas offer us a chance to continue reflecting on the significance of Christ’s birth. At the beginning of Luke’s gospel, we hear from a man named Zechariah, who describes the birth of Jesus as the “dawn from on high” that will illuminate our days and deeds, and “guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79, NRSV) Pondering Christ, his birth, his life, his teaching, his death, and his resurrection – all these things are helpful guideposts along that way of peace, and when they come to be hidden from our eyes by all that distracts us, we run the risk of losing our footing. May the frantic pace of our lives never cause us to stray from the path that leads us to God’s promised shalom!
Holy God, the dawning of your salvation opens our path to abundant life with you and with one another. Open our eyes to those guideposts that point to your life-giving way, and amid the distractions of our busy lives, keep us on the path that leads to peace for humanity and creation. We ask all these things in the name of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
– Pastor Andrew Chavanak, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), Falls City