"The wolf shall 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. 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 hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:6-9
I am guessing that most observers of Advent have favorite Scripture passages among those that are read over the course of the four weeks preceding Christmas. Some of the references have to do with Christ's first coming and some with His second. My own favorite, above, is one of the latter, one that promises that all of Creation will be redeemed and restored to its initial glory and harmony when Christ comes back.
I close my eyes when I hear these verses and wonder what the world will look like in that day. What will it be like to live in a Creation so perfect, so at peace, that the animals no longer devour each other and neither will they suffer from man's abuses? I think about what it will take to bring the Earth back to such a state. Not our best environmental efforts, though we must keep on trying. Not our collective good will to save species and habitats, though I work to that end myself. Isaiah says that it will take the earth being filled with the "knowledge of the Lord", with His Spirit so present that everyone and everything will be saturated with His goodness and grace. There will be no more need to hunt or desire to hurt and destroy and all of Creation will be sustained by His provision without the need to kill for food or sustenance.
Sometimes I want to cry out, as did some Old Testament writers, "How long, O Lord?" How long will the Earth and its people have to wait for Your intervention and restoration? I am impatient for the day when all will be made perfect again and fear and death are no more. Waiting is hard. Teach me O God, during this Advent season, to trust that You have your plan in hand and will accomplish it in due time... just as you did that first time, at Christmas.