In the Christmas story we hear of a simple birth in a barn. There are no face trappings. Just the essentials. We hear of people and animals together. We hear of shepherds, again, people with a simple life. Not a lot of prestige or wealth. Things are pared back. In the Gospel of Matthew, we are also told of a visit by sages who seek out Jesus. These sages may have been people of greater means. And they may have been more learned and respected. But they allow themselves to be captivated by the star and they follow that star. They are single-minded of purpose. They are focussed. So while they might not be of modest means, they still show a simplicity in their dedication to their calling and their dogged pursuit of the dream that has captured them.
There is a message here as we try to cram more events, gifts, parties, activities, food into this season, to remember to stay focussed on Jesus. The story is a call to a focussed life. To a simplicity of means and purpose.
When our wholehearted devotion is to the way of Jesus, we find our lives become more peaceful. We are more centered and less scattered and distracted. The serenity and peace that we desire for ourselves and the world emerges.
If our primary focus is on this kind of peace in our lives, we will become more peace-filled. If our primary focus as a society, as consumers and voter and citizens, is on peace, the world will become more peace-filled. Imagine asking yourself as you make choices through your day, “Is this decision focussed on peace in my life and in the life of the world?” Peace can be very simple.
Can you think of a time when you felt peace filled? What can you learn from that experience to continue to increase peace in your life and the life of the world?
Prayer: We are so easily distracted. There are so many things competing for our attention. May we find ways to stay grounded and centered in God, so that we may live the peace of Jesus for ourselves and the world. Amen.