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     The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf 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 cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isa. 11:6-9

Dear Lord 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, as I meditate through Isaiah’s prophecy, my longings are ignited for the Day of no more hurting, of any variety. “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.”

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. Hasten the world of consummate peace.

But, Lord Jesus, 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 hurt one other in any way. Hasten the world of perfect relationships, Lord…

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, no more fights, spite flight in any way, at any time, in any relationship.

Lord Jesus, hasten the Day when we will finally and fully love one another as you love us. 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. So very Amen we pray, in your powerful and patient name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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