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December 21

Isaiah 65, 23-25

Something to read

They shall not labour in vain, 
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord — 
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer, 
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, 
the lion shall eat straw like the ox; 
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy 
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
New Revised Standard Version

To read the King James version click here

Something to think about

This is our Great hope; the lion shall lie down with the lamb. This is Isaiah’s vision of a glorious future, a promise that is a long time coming.

Today is about the last day for sending anything or ordering anything that needs to be sent. Presents that come too late for the Big Day are a pain! How many times have we waited holding our breath, hoping the promised gift will arrive?

Sometimes it does: relief all round. Sometimes it doesn’t: quick, get something else, make an IOU, rearrange. It’s not so bad if it’s something for an adult, worse if it’s for a little child. ‘Has Father Christmas forgotten me?’

How much more do we hope for and long for the day Isaiah promised, no more hurt in all my holy mountain… This gift is way overdue, 3,000 years in the post!

We are grown-ups; we know that God has not forgotten us like some second-class Father Christmas. We may have misunderstood God's timetable, but His intentions are clear, He does not want anyone to hurt anymore.

Something to do

That last present you can’t think what to get - look in the Christian Aid gift catalogue or go onto the website. Buy your loved ones a llama, or 100 school dinners, or a pot of worms.

They will laugh and wave it about the same as they will any other present. But this way someone else will, too. Some years ago, my sister bought me a llama (my mum was a bit concerned about where it would sleep). I can’t remember what else I got that year, but I often think about my llama and the family I share him with.

Something to pray

Generous God You give us so much,
Help me to be like you and have a generous heart.
Loving God you always know the right thing to give,
Help me to be as thoughtful.
Timeless God you run the universe yet have time to spend with me,
Help me to find the gift of time to give to others. Amen.

Nicky Gilbert is a former student of Westminster College, Cambridge.

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