The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
What is hope?
We talk about hope as though it is an easy thing to come by, but it’s usually not that simple, is it?
How can it be that a lamb will lie down safely with a wolf, the leopard with the baby goat, the calf with the lion? What happens when the lamb and the kid and the calf get a dinner invitation from the wolf and the leopard and the lion? Don’t you think they might worry about ulterior motives?
“Um, excuse me, Sir Lion. I mean, I don’t want to seem rude or ungrateful for being invited to dine. However, may I ask why you are smiling so broadly, and exactly who—I mean, what—is on tonight’s menu?”
That’s exactly what’s happening in so many places of the world right now. Each side is afraid to trust the other when they are invited to the peace table. They are afraid they are going to be eaten alive.
This can even be true in communities, families, schools.
All sides must have permission to hope. The weak need to be able to hope they will not be consumed by the powerful. The strong—and perhaps this is the more difficult type of hope—the strong need to be able to hope they do not need to consume another in order to prosper.
Isaiah told his people that they needed to give themselves permission to dream of peace, permission to hope for a better time.
What do you need to have permission to hope for this Christmas?
Hope that a torn up family could be reconciled? That you could survive Christmas with an empty place at the table? That the problem which plagues you so terribly right now could be a memory by this time next year? That you might enter a new year with more joy?
Listen to Isaiah. As Advent continues, the message intensifies. Give yourself permission to listen, to hope, to lean toward a different and better tomorrow.
© 2013, Melissa Bane Sevier, all rights reserved