Isaiah 11: 3
Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide.
Do you have images in your head of what the next few weeks will look like? For me, I'm hanging ornaments on the tree whilst (and yes, I'll use whilst over these weeks) sipping on hot cider and singing classic Bing Crosby Christmas songs, driving through neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights, shopping for food donations and bringing them to a local food bank, sitting peacefully around my advent wreath and saying a family prayer, my boys with their hands folded and their hair perfectly parted and combed… we might even bake cookies and decorate them with green and red sprinkles. In all of these shots I'm wearing a scarf.
But alas, these things will probably not all happen between now and December 25th. Fractured versions of each will, but none of them will look perfect. In today's reading from Isaiah, we hear about the ideal king and his kingdom. There are babies playing by venomous snakes, a wolf hanging with a lamb. The king is described as one whose rule I think we would all be happy to live under. He's just, wise, understanding…
So much of what is written in these 10 verses in Isaiah feels impossible. And it is apart from God. But this ruler DOES in fact exist and He DOES in fact rule over us, if we allow it. But how? Well, part is to read these verses describing Him and then one at a time, pick something that we want to try to emulate. For me, it's verse 3. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide. Maybe I gravitated towards that one because of a guilty conscious. Or maybe it's because it feels very relevant to everyday life. I encourage you- read these verses, pick a characteristic and try for one week to do something every day that will bring you closer to this image. You might realize that this kingdom is real and it's here, through you!