The Rev. Jennifer Haddox ‘06, Associate Director of World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
1Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. 2The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.
3Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; 4he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. 5They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. 6So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.
7Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it." 9They asked him, "Where do you want us to make preparations for it?" 10"Listen," he said to them, "when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters 11and say to the owner of the house, 'The teacher asks you, "Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"' 12He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there." 13So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
In the gospel of Luke, we read about the preparation of the Passover meal in the shadow of Judas Iscariot’s impending betrayal. Jesus sends out Peter and John to make the necessary preparations for the Passover. All the while, the plot to kill Jesus is underway. Surely, Peter and John and the others were well aware of the danger they faced in the city, and so they follow Jesus’ instructions to find this mysterious Upper Room by way of a servant carrying water.
As we prepare for Christmas gatherings and celebrations this season, we do so not just under the bright star of Bethlehem. We prepare under the shadow of the cross. For this shadow casts God’s grace over our lives and opens the way for us to truly celebrate the eternal gift of Emmanuel. Our holiday preparations can be full of joy and light because we have seen God’s judgment pass over us at the cross.
Lord God, as we make ourselves busy preparing for family gatherings in this season, cast your light of salvation upon us again. Make us ready to welcome you, not only as a baby in a manger, but as the Passover lamb. And as we wait, make us ready to receive you when you come again in glory. Amen.