The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, and the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11: 6– 9 NIV) Jesus, there are many things I love about the Advent season— the songs regaling your birth, the aroma of yuletide foods and spices, the dancing array of Christmas lights aglow in my neighborhood each evening. But I especially love fueling my faith and imagination with the promises God made surrounding your arrival. Every promise he has made finds its yes in you. Today in particular, I’m stirred to think about the day of no more harm of any variety. “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain” (Isa. 11: 9 NIV). Oh, for the day when all “tooth and claw” violence gives way to wolves frolicking with lambs; leopards and goats napping together; calves, lions, and young horses strolling through the new heaven and new earth as friends; cows and bears eating together rather than one another; snakes as pets rather than pests. As much as I love the vision of shalom in the animal kingdom, ten thousand times over I long for the day when we, the two-legged image-bearers of the living God, no longer harm one another in any way. No more marginalizing or minimizing one another; no more demeaning or dismissing one another; no more vilifying or idolizing one another; no more hating or hurting one another; no more using or abusing one another in any way. Hasten the day when we will finally and fully love one another as you love us, Jesus. Until that day, keep us groaning and growing in grace. Grant us quick repentances when we love poorly. May the world recognize us as your disciples by the way we love one another. We pray in your powerful and patient name. Amen.
Smith, Scotty (2011-09-01). Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith (Kindle Locations 7609-7615). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.