Hope, Peace, Love and Joy: I wish these gifts of the Christ-child’s Spirit, for all of you.
The scripture of the season is from Isaiah, about the wolf and the lamb lying together, the bear and the cow feeding together, the lion eating straw like the ox, and “a little child shall lead them…They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain…” Isaiah 11:1-10
This Christmas, let us look for the Hope, Peace, Love and Joy from God in all things, as it takes practice to see God around us, and within us. Life has its challenges for sure. Hopes tend to get dashed in this world – that might be because we pin our hopes on changeable things, events, and people. Then, we have no inner Peace, so there is no outward peace. Thirdly, we do Love lots…of things: people we admire from afar, some of our trinkets; various machines, cars, pans and kitchen spoons, but there is not a lot of un-conditional love even for people in our own families, including our church family. Lastly, we have no really deep Joy; the kind of joy Christ has with God the Father. That is why some “self-medicate.” We could probably all use some practice living in the Spirit of the Christ-child.
There is a story of “Two Wolves,” from the Indians, the Indigenous People of the USA.
A grandfather is talking to his grandson. He warns that there are two wolves within each person: a wolf who is strong and mean, ill-tempered and wary and bitter and jealous; who chooses the hard ways and the angry ways. The other wolf is also strong, but this one is kinder; this one shares and helps and nourishes and provides for and protects; this one can also fight, but its heart is loving.
The grandfather describes the battle between these wolves in their equal but different strengths and the boy is filled with terror, thinking that these two wolves live within him! Which one will defeat the other? Which one will hold sway in his young life?
The grandson asks, “Which one wins?”
The grandfather answers: “The one I feed.”
We all have wolf and lamb within us; we all have ox and bear within us. We all have a little child within us to lead us. A little child, a real child born over 2000 years ago. His mother named him Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” When we let the Christ-child within lead us – when we recognize the baby Jesus whom God gave to the world to show God’s Love, Peace, Joy and Hope in the flesh – when we remember that we are co-creators with Christ-when we can slow down and admit that God is our King, and that all we need to do is to allow the Spirit of the Christ-child to rule our lives – when we remember to “feed” that Spirit, then we can know that the world will one day manifest God’s very Hope: for Peace, Love and Joy to rule in all our lives.
Thank you, each and all, for Manifesting your own Hopes of Peace, Love and Joy for the world through Bardsdale Church, by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service and your witness. Thank you, each and all, for manifesting and sharing Christ Jesus’ own love of you with your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, and with “the widow, the orphan, and the stranger.” Bless you all!