The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. [Isaiah 11:6 NIV]
This Sunday is the fourth Sunday in Advent and in both of our services we will be lighting the candle of Peace. What image comes to mind when you think of peace?
At my previous church appointment, I spent many a day at the Winter Park Memorial Hospital. In fact, I was an on-call chaplain there as well. Sometimes the visits are times of joy, such as when visiting the parents of a newborn. But sometimes the visits are filled with anxiety. You knew what you were facing when you walked into the hospital—someone in their final days as the family has gathered, one who has received a dire diagnosis, and sometimes I didn’t know what I was about to face.
Yet what gave me a great sense of peace as I was taking those steps into the hospital was a bronze sculpture at the front entrance. It was a sculpture of a lion lying down with a lamb. It is imagery from Isaiah 11:6, even though the passage doesn’t explicitly say that the lion will lie down with the lamb. The sentiment is there.
I knew the artist who created the sculpture and he expressed to me what this sculpture meant to him. It was a healing image for him. His sculpture shows the lamb looking totally at ease, even though the lion is much bigger. The lamb is at rest—at peace. The lion is curled around the lamb as it is protecting the more vulnerable one.
Think about what is preying upon you, what is plundering you in your life that causes stress and restlessness. Wouldn’t you like to be free from that? Or even have that thing that is causing so much unrest in your life be right there with you staring at you, but no longer causing strain or stress in your life. That is the peace that Jesus offers to us.
It is a reminder to us that in this season of Advent, the time when we celebrate again the coming of the Messiah in the form of Christ child, that there will be peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. A peace that passes all understanding that can only come from God. And a little child will lead the way.