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 NRSV)

Advent and Christmas are times when our minds naturally move toward the hope of peace on earth, good will toward all people. That was part of the great messianic hope that Isaiah described hundreds of years before in chapter 11 verse 6, "And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."

There is a story, from World War I, about a very young Second Lieutenant who had been rushed through Officer's Candidate School because there was a shortage of officers. He had been sent to command a company immediately out of school. He not only was young, he looked young. He looked as if he had not even begun to shave. To make matters worse, he was commanding a company of veterans.

The first morning, he had them line up at attention. When he turned his back on them, from the rear of the ranks, someone shouted these words from Isaiah, "A little child shall lead them."

The other soldiers muffled snickers as he turned smartly around and shouted, "Who said that?"

There was silence. He said, "The one who said that, take one step forward."

Everyone in the company stepped forward one step. The young lieutenant knew he was licked and did nothing.

The next morning, however, on the barracks wall was a notice: "C" Company will report in full gear, this afternoon at 1300 hours, for a 25 mile hike. And a little child shall lead them ...on a great big horse."

Every year, at this time, we rekindle our hope for peace. We look forward to that day when the wolf shall indeed lie down by the lamb and the leopard by the kid, and a little child shall lead them.

Loving God, I need your peace. My world needs your peace. May it begin with me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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