It was a warm, sunny morning on the road to Emmaus as the two young men walked along, deep in reflective conversation. It had been a remarkable week as the man known as Jesus had finished his ministry, dying in a most barbaric fashion, and they struggled to make sense of it all.
Soon another man joined them, even that same Jesus, and after ascertaining their thoughts began to expound all things unto them concerning himself. What a remarkable moment that was, yet those disciples knew nothing of the identity of their new companion.
Later, as they broke bread with their new friend, something about the moment triggered their memories, and they knew him. But then he vanished from among them. They began to reflect back on the day’s walk, remembering not just the words spoken, but that their hearts had burned within them.
Why only then did they recognize the moments of the day for what they were? While their hearts actually burned within them they were unaware of the magnitude of what was happening. It was only later, as distance separated the moment from the memory, that clarity came.
Lest we think too harshly of these young men for their failure to recognize the grandness of that day, let us remember our own failures of similar moments, even if not so grand, as they come and go each day. For memory is a gift from God that seems to require certain triggers to become truly active.
While it is one thing to casually remember a child’s birthday or the day’s work requirements, it requires absence and distance from the moment for the true gift of remembrance to take place. Couple that distance with the light of Christ and the fog falls away, letting us remember special moments with perfect clarity.
As Christmas comes anew there will be many occasions for such remembering. Sadly, many choice friends and loved ones are no longer among us, but the wonder of the season will trigger sacred remembrances of them, filling hearts with joy. For it is often only in the quiet reflections of our souls when loved ones are gone from us that this sacred gift can bring them back. It is then that every little nuance of expression and personality, every forgotten word or deed, every act of kindness is brought into focus; and we remember in truth, causing our hearts to burn within us.
And grandest of all may be as we take time to remember Him whose birthday we now celebrate. For he is the same who came as a babe, lived as a man and died as a God. He is the same who walked with his two friends on the road to Emmaus as a resurrected man, even our Savior and Redeemer.
Just as it was for them, as we remember, we may find that our hearts burn within us, bearing witness to our souls that He is truly the very Son of God.
Craig Lindquist is a local cabinet maker, writer and beloved Tutu Kane.