I love November. It’s a great month. My wife and I both celebrate our birthdays this month (hers is exactly a week before mine…yeah, she robbed the cradle.) We get to stuff ourselves with turkey, mashed potatoes, and pecan pie on Thanksgiving; and the weather transitions into my favorite season – Winter!
Okay, I know I lost some of you with that last part about winter, but I think we can agree the rest of this stuff if pretty great. In the next few months we’ll celebrate some wonderful holidays and spend cold days indoors as we get cozy with people we really care about.
But occasionally the time we spend with family in the coming months forces us to engage difficult people and relationships in our lives. We are around people who’ve hurt us in the past, or who remind us of old pains and former wounds, or who are just plain obnoxious. Often these family relationships, while wonderful, are also great sources of stress.
In a recent Sunday School class the young adults took a closer look at the Beatitudes. The one that kept jumping out at me was Blessed are the peacemakers. Peacemaking is a central task of Christ’s ministry, but it’s incredibly hard for us to participate in. Sometimes our idea of peacemaking, especially in the relationships within our home and family, is to simply ignore the conflicts and strained relationships in our lives. Pretend like it’s no big deal. Wait for it to go away. Brush it under the rug so we can stare at our plates while we chew our mashed potatoes and push cranberry sauce around with our fork.
In his reflection on this beatitude, Phil Yancey writes this little prayer: “I am blessed because I long for peace among those around me. I desire to enter the world of others to better understand and come alongside them. I’m willing to do what is uncomfortable for the sake of peace, following in the footsteps of Jesus.”
I’m struck by the idea that peacemaking requires we “enter the world of others” and “do what is uncomfortable for the sake of peace.” As we begin this holiday season, are there relationships in your life that you need to enter into for the sake of reconciliation and peace? Do you need to apologize to someone for something you hope they’d forgotten about? Do you need to forgive someone for a grief you’ve been holding on to?
Blessed are the peacemakers. Let us commit to following Christ in the way of courage and humility as we seek peace in our relationships this season.