“And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace (τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην)! But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation (τὸν καιρὸν τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς σου).” (Lk 19: 41-44)

The coming/advent of Christ was a time of “visitation“ (τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς/tes episkopes); of Jerusalem being “visited“ by God. Being “visited“ in this sense (i.e., in the “episcopal“ sense of the Greek term) implies being watched over, remembered, cared for, and, if need be, chastised and set right. But many in the Jerusalem of that time did not “know“ or recognize that God was paying them a visit. So, instead of hearing His voice and allowing themselves to be set right, they tried to silence it, putting Christ to death. Sadly, (and this is why our Lord weeps as described above), this rejection of God’s life-bringing word was ultimately destructive and death-bringing to these people themselves, and to everything they had built, i.e., their “city.“

Today let me keep my heart wide open, and pay attention to God’s “visits.“ Let me let Him slow me down, or stop me in my tracks, if He finds this necessary, perhaps through a critical comment of a loved one, or an unexpected bill in the mail, or, as it happens (for those of us on the Older Calendar), the beginning of the Nativity Fast this Thursday. Let me recognize the time of my visitation, and be a welcoming host/ess to One Who comes, again and again, into my “city“ and shakes things up a bit. “Thy kingdom come,“ I say today, as we begin to anticipate the feast of His birth in Bethlehem, and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!“