We are living at a time when children are offering important leadership. Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan won the Nobel Peace Prize at age seventeen for advocating for education for women and girls in her home country. Greta Thunburg of Sweden was celebrated around the world for promoting ecological responsibility and working to prevent climate change. Yet there are still several parts of our world where children are neither recognized nor respected.
Zechariah’s hymn addresses John the Baptist as “child” and envisions him as a prophet, a leader who will guide us all in the way of peace. He will lead us to Christ. We know how the prophet Isaiah foretold of a time when “a little child” will lead our ecological world (see Isaiah 11:6). Such a vision of a young child should lead us to examine how children are treated in our families, neighborhoods, and Christian congregations.
Jesus said that the reign of God belongs to children and those who become like children (see Matthew 18:3). This involves recognizing and respecting children and seeing them as the messengers of God who lead us in the path of peace.
Christ’s reign empowers us to work for peace. We can be thankful to God that the Christ child is the Prince of Peace and will guide and strengthen us as we do the work of peacemaking.
God, as your children we ask for your peace to be poured into our hearts so that we may be peacemakers. Amen.
Our readings for the week highlight the Reign of Christ. Jeremiah prophesies about a future King from the line of David who will bring justice, righteousness, and security for the people of God. Luke 1 records the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah praises God for raising up salvation from the house of David as God had promised through the prophets. This child will bring mercy, forgiveness, and light. Luke 23 recounts part of the story of the death of Jesus. Here Jesus, the Light of the world, dies as an act of mercy for our forgiveness. In Colossians, Christ holds first place above everything else. Through his death we are forgiven and brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
Read Jeremiah 23:1-6. How do you trust in God’s promises to bring safety and justice as you watch unjust rulers oppress and abandon their followers?
Read Luke 1:68-79. What will you say when you break your silence?
Read Colossians 1:11-20. Recall a time when you waited for something in great anticipation. How did your faith help you find patience?
Read Luke 23:33-43. How do you recognize Christ as King when you experience or witness suffering?
Respond by posting a prayer.