It’s not hard to find someone who considers Christmas their favorite holiday.
And what’s not to love? There’s a feeling of goodwill we don’t always experience at other times. The festivities are fun and even the ugly sweaters garner smiles. Most people also have favorite traditions to make spirits bright. No wonder more than forty percent of Americans say Christmas is their favorite.
Speaking of favorites, let’s talk favorite cities.
More specifically, let’s consider Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem holds a special place in the hearts of Jewish people. It stands at the center of Jewish life and thought. Of course, Christians and Muslims today also hold it in high regard. Its history includes tragedy and war, victory and prominence. It became the city of David.
As such, Jesus would’ve known the importance of Jerusalem. He would’ve understood what God desired for that place more than anyone. Luke tells us of one occasion Jesus went there. When he saw the city, he wept.
That makes me think of Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. Interestingly, Jesus was about to resurrect Lazarus, but he still cried at his death. At Jerusalem, Jesus would resurrect soon, but he still cried for Jerusalem.
He said, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41)! Did you pick up on the favorite city feeling? “Even you,” Jerusalem. It’s often translated as the city of peace. But it did not know peace. It wouldn’t recognize the things that make for peace.
Even as the cherished, favorite city.
Likewise, it’s quite possible for Christmas to be our favorite holiday and for us to miss the peace that is Christ, too. One of our favorite texts to read at Christmas is from Isaiah. “For to us a child is born,” we declare. Among the other titles we acknowledge, we say Jesus is the Prince of Peace. And the Prince of Peace has a way of peace God teaches us.
And if God’s desire for peace gets lost, even in all our holiday fun and excitement, I assume Jesus is still weeping.