Commentary on the Gospel of

Nancy Shirley - Creighton University's College of Nursing


Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
I have certainly heard excerpts from this reading previously.  However, as we enter the 12th month of 2020, this particular paragraph speaks to my heart.  It seems most years by the time we get to Advent, we are ready to leave the ordinary time of the year and embrace Advent with all of its promises.  This year of 2020 has been challenging for so many – illness and death, isolation, financial concerns and the list could go on.  I so long for peace and serenity, for a sense of security and order, for something predictable.  These prophecies from Isaiah foretelling the rise of a new Davidic king give us (me) so much hope and optimism.  This year the promise of Advent and everything new is more important than ever.  As I wrote about what I long for, I realized that is exactly what we are promised – predictability – of a Child who will redeem us.  The above paragraph creates a picture of peace and serenity – the animals listed who live as enemies in nature are now able to co-exist in peace without threat to each other. Our chaotic world offers very little of this these days.  How can we learn from these animals to look beyond our comfort zones and allow that little child to guide us?

For me, at least, it seems that Advent is here just in time.  It reminds me of a fresh beginning – an opportunity to welcome the new and out with the old.  All the feelings of being worn out from this horrendous year and wondering when isolation will come to an end fade when I realize that the very symbol of hope and everything good is coming.  The beginning of the church year gives me a chance to begin anew and not only leave 2020 behind but also all the stress and uncertainty.  It reminds me that this earth and all of its challenges are just transitory – this is not my forever.  The journey here is not the final goal. Sometimes, I let this fragile life direct my thoughts and attitude and drag me into unimportant details. I forget (so many times) to look at the bigger picture and the eternal life that should be my priority.

The season of Advent is just what this world (and me) needs right now to raise our spirits and direct us to the truly important aspects of life and preparation for our eternal life. Advent reminds us to open our hearts as we anticipate and prepare for our greatest Gift. It is our Faith and  hope of what is to come that will support us and allow us to see beyond our troubles and this chaos called life.  Most importantly, Advent reveals what Jesus says to the disciples:

Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 

For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it

Big Daddy Weave:  The Lion and the Lamb  



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