The Emmanuel Moment

By David Brock, presiding evangelist

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  Matthew 5:9

On January 20, 1986, in Nairobi, Kenya, I held Carolyn’s and my newborn daughter, Emily, for the first time. I could not stop staring in wonder and amazement at this miracle from God. This flesh-and-blood incarnation of the “image of God” right there in my own arms—flesh of our flesh, bone of our bones.

Nurses reminded me of visiting hours, but I found ways to loiter in the lobby, then (with stealth and skill!) sneak back in during off-hours so I could have more Emily time!

I realized this human creature, who is ours and yet not ours, is the pinnacle of what defines “sacred” and “holy” for me. Possibly above all else, her life helps me understand the principles of God’s love, the Worth of All Persons, and the Sacredness of Creation.

Her birth was the “meridian of time” moment that points me to the Christ event, the Emmanuel moment; the God with us, “pitching tent among us” event that is the lens through which I look to understand the nature of God and reality.

Or maybe, just maybe, it is the other way around.

Maybe I recognize Emily as sacred because of the story of another child born in the meridian of time in a cow’s stall. Maybe it is because I understand God as one who is so committed to life, so in love with creation, such a believer in the “least of these” people and cultures, that I know how immeasurably worthy my daughter is…and all daughters and sons of the Earth.

Maybe I could look at her on the day of her birth and know as I’d never known before, the value of life, the need to make the world a place worthy of its children, because God became vulnerable and dwelt with us in Jesus. Maybe I understood how holy her birth was because of the holy night when Christ was born in that lowly manger…born to raise each child of Earth.

Prayer for Peace:

Mother and Father of each child on Earth, we see the sacredness of each one just as we see the sacredness of Christ. As much as we love our own, may we love all others. We pray all children may know the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Welcoming Unity in Diversity

Prayerfully read Doctrine and Covenants 163:8c, which calls “the entire church to become a sanctuary of Christ’s peace, where people from all nations, ethnicities, and life circumstances can be gathered into a spiritual home without dividing walls.” Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace. Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Ask God to forgive and heal barriers.

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will be a peacemaker and thus be called a child of God.

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