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. (Isaiah 11:6)
One of my most vivid and lasting memories of Christmas as a child happened one Christmas Eve when I was in my early teens. It was one of those nights in northern New York when the air was so cold, it took your breath away.
Dad served two little United Methodist churches, one in Chasm Falls and the other in Owls Head. Both were small, country-ish churches and they alternated worship each week. They also alternated holidays like Christmas Eve which always made for good discussion as mom and dad debated “which church were we in last year?”
This particular year we were in Owls Head. Owls Head is a small town (much, much smaller than Monroeville) that sat below an Adirondack mountain that had a rock face that, from the right angle, so they said, resembled the head of an owl.
I was at an age where I normally sat by myself in the back of the church. This way I could be the first one out. I wasn’t always planning to be a minister, you know. As I pushed through the outer doors of the church to step outside, the inside of the doors were covered in frost, it was that cold.
As I stepped out, the cold night air took my breath away (told you) and the snow under my feet crunched like you were walking on rice crispies. The air was perfectly still, and the sky was perfectly clear. I don’t know why I was going to sit in the freezing cold car. We were sure to be the last ones to leave that night. But as I turned the corner of the church toward where we parked, all alone in the cold night, what I saw stopped me in my tracks.
The biggest, brightest moon I had ever seen, maybe full, maybe just close to full, was reflecting brightly right over the owls’ head of Owls Head Mountain. As I stood transfixed in the cold on that Christmas Eve, I felt the most calming, overwhelming sense of peace I have ever experienced in my life.
Here in Advent, we dream of peace. Could it be that once we find peace in our lives, or as in my case, peace finds us, we will be able to make peace with those around us and maybe even make peace in our world?
Where have you found peace? Where has peace found you? May you know the peaceable kingdom of God in your life as we prepare to welcome the Christ-child once again.