"The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea," says Isaiah this week. Which means, as he explains it, that the poor and meek find justice, and that everyone (even the wild animals) figure out how to live together in peace.
I'm a bit caught on this idea of being "full of the knowledge of the Lord," and that meaning justice and peace, especially for the most vulnerable. This isn't, I think, what we Christians most communicate in our culture today. That is, we aren't always known for our love.
Knowing God, at least as Isaiah describes it, seems to make us humble. Or at least demand that we figure out how to live in harmony with others, so they're not afraid. Our being full of Christmas joy requires sharing it with the fullness of all others. (We might can't have a good Christmas party if it's not also, somehow good for the people not in the room.)
So, once again, as Christmas draws near, I hear the words of u2's 'Peace on Earth' echoing in my head: "We hear it every Christmastime, but hope and history won't rhyme, so what's it worth? This 'Peace on Earth.'"
This year, as we walk through Advent, I'm challenging myself to look further than the 25th, to see what Christmas preparations I can make that will help build the kind of fullness of "knowledge of the Lord" that is justice and peace.