There are some parallels between the post-Christmas work of Jesus’ parents and the work that lies before us in these times. Salvation has come upon us—perhaps seen in the results of this past election—yearnings for righteousness to return. We’ve prayed for rescue from evil and oppression, and now that seems possible. The message of Christmas has assured and calmed us once again. Like Mary and Joseph, we are certain that the Prince of Peace is on the scene, that God’s justice is on the way.
But redemption isn’t going to happen by magic—even Christmas magic. Work remains to be done.
This is probably a close-to-home effort, starting with those we love and others within our circles of influence. The tasks will probably be ongoing, perhaps arduous or even risky. What’s at stake here is the well-being of this nation, its rescue from the anger, hate, lies and egoisms that have poisoned even our closest relationships.
Let’s talk about the nature of the calling facing us. I’m not sure it’s as grand as “uniting the nation.” More basic matters first seem necessary. They start with our re-engagement with those who have been difficult for us to love. Not so much to change them—that’s their responsibility. Instead, to remember our listening skills, to recall our shared experiences with them. To find matters other than political philosophies as conversation starters. To regain our senses of humor and empathy. To reach out to previously unapproachable family members, colleagues and friends. To purge our spirits of gloating, To distill into simple words our faith in Jesus, and our lifework according to God’s will. To invite and exemplify apologies and forgiveness.
That work starts now, and we’re called to be part of it.
Fully, patiently, hopefully…