OK, we aren’t quite there yet, but this will be the last bulletin before Christmas. While we are still in the Advent season I would ask you to consider the many readings we have in Advent from Isaiah and one of the images that we are given is that of the peace and paradise that God desires for us:
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.
(Isaiah 11: 6-9)
The reason we are given this image during Advent is the expectation of what the Messiah will be bringing. When we read it now, as they thought when it was written, it is hard to imagine that things could actually be that peaceful. But you might have seen an article in the news just last week that can encourage our hope, of a tiger who has made friends with a goat. The tiger lives in a Safari Park in Russia and the goat was put in his enclosure as food, but instead they became what can only be described as friends, they live, and eat, and even play together. Not exactly a leopard and a kid, or a calf and a young lion, but I can’t ask for anything closer, especially considering the goat was meant to be his dinner.
Hopefully this doesn’t just remind us of Scripture, but also makes us recognize that such things, while not very common or likely, are possible. It can help our faith to recognize that yes, we can strive for such peace in our lives too. We see conflict and violence presented to us all the time and we can become so used to it that we don’t believe such peace that Isaiah talks of is possible, and so we don’t even attempt trying to make peace of the difficult conflicts in our own lives. I would encourage you to be like the Russian public who are asking for more of such news. We are not denying the pain and suffering and tragedies that are happening around us and in the world, but we also don’t have to deny the good that is also out there and that we can help build.
As we come to the last week of this Advent we need to recognize the challenges we have in our lives, but also know that God is there to be with us. He came to us on Christmas in the form of a child and wants that peace that we think of on that silent night to be ours. Let us continue to work towards it, and believe that this is what God wants for us. May you and your families have a Merry Christmas.