He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:17-22
The Christmas season can be such a ‘re-centering’ time for families. I’ve often wondered why it takes a certain time of the year to bring us back to a balanced life. Ephesians 2 guides us in finding a balance because this scripture first talks about Jesus as being our peace (‘center’). He reconciled the sacred and the secular by sacrificially giving of himself. Through this, we are provided access to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus then shares we are fellow citizens as God’s people built upon the foundation of the apostles but Christ is in all reality the chief (‘center’) cornerstone.
How is it possible to daily live out peace, reconciliation, wholeness, the Trinity, citizenship, and Christ as the ‘center’ of our lives? A suggestion for answering this is to consider asking yourself who or what is the center of your life? A story that follows will hopefully illustrate a response for this provocative question. While growing up in the city of Denver, we had a Christmas tradition that challenged our family to return to ‘center’ by bringing the whole family together for a worship experience. As a family of nine (seven siblings and two parents), we would one day a year at Christmastime ‘re-center’ together by singing Christmas carols in the basement where the piano was located. This was much harder than one thinks because our mother had Multiple Sclerosis and she was bedridden. We would place her in a wheelchair and take her down twelve stairs. Most the time, we didn’t crash the wheelchair. Upon arrival to the basement, we would usually place a new born sibling or an unwed mother’s baby in a bassinet. Every member of the family was required to participate in singing Christmas carols in a basement sing-a-long. This truly was a time to ‘center’ and reflect upon the peace and chief cornerstone we have in Jesus Christ.
In the hustle and bustle of life including Christmastime, is there a reason why it is so easy to get off-center? I’m convinced we lose our ‘center’ because we try to substitute, through the year, inappropriate or ineffective cornerstones. Some that come to mind during this season include overscheduling during this season, pursuit of happiness through materialism, self-sufficiency, overindulgence, or a focus on self vs. others. All of these are tugs and pulls that are contrary to the Spirit and illustrations of how we let sin creep into our lives.
I’d like to challenge you this Christmas season to simplify your life. Make Christ your chief cornerstone. Sing Christmas carols with your family. Stop and ‘re-center’ by being willing to allow God to redeem key foundations of your life. Point towards the new year by setting specific goals for liturgies of heart and mind that establish new habits for acknowledging that Christ must be above all the cornerstone of every aspect of your life. Through acknowledging Christ as cornerstone, God will be glorified.
Prayer: Forgive us when we try and find peace by separating you from certain aspects of our life. Redeem our habits Lord so we can live as whole beings and be guided by the Spirit in all aspects of our words, thoughts, and deeds. During Christmas and next year, ‘center’ us by being our chief cornerstone.