Isaiah 11:1-9 —

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.  Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

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.


from Sarah Webb, Wheeling, WV    

Isaiah’s poetic words paint a beautiful picture which we have come to love during this season…the image of a shoot coming forth from a lifeless stump, a lamb finding peace with a wolf.  What we love is the hope of something new.  Perhaps something better.  Yet we find ourselves poised between what is here now, and what is not-yet.  There is an inherent tension between these two points.  The old way of being is still here, but something new is emerging in the midst of the old.

Advent is a season which asks a lot of trust from us.  Can we be patient and accepting of the what-is before rushing into the not-yet?  Can we hang out in the not-knowing until the knowing comes?  Isaiah gives us the opportunity to say a dynamic “Yes!” to both what is present in our lives and what is on its way.  If we can make room to hold both, the space in between is transformed.

God of peace, help us to surrender to the mystery

and beauty of your promises as they unfold.