Read Isaiah 11:1-9.
Our family adopted a dog during the summer of 2020. Due to the pandemic, the rescue organization had a backlog of requests. The process took a long time. While we waited, I wondered: “Would the dog like our family? Would my dog-averse husband grow to love the dog?” High on my list of worries was whether or not the two cats in our household would get along with the new dog. Thankfully, the answer to all of these questions turned out to be YES.
In Isaiah’s song of hope, we hear of unexpected relationships between natural foes. This is a word of grace during our polarized era. Many of us spend the holidays with family members or friends who don’t act or think like we do. How do we reconcile spending time in their company during this holy season?
A dear friend, Rev. Mariclair Partee Carlsen, pastors St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. She tells this story: “A child placed a small plastic wolf in our church’s nativity scene sometime years ago. When our Sexton packed the nativity up at the end of the season, the wolf got packed up too. So now every Advent it goes out with the other animals.”
Whether it is a housecat falling in love with a yellow hound dog, a toy wolf nestled in with the sheep at the crib of the baby Jesus, or your Uncle Jeff trying to get along with your college roommate at Christmas dinner, God is in the midst of these blossoming relationships.
God, be with us as we journey together to your kingdom. We aren’t there yet, but we see glimpses of your grace along the way. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Alexandra M. Hendrickson
College Chaplain and Director of Religious & Spiritual Life