“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
– Isaiah 9:6
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Recently I saw the documentary of a lioness in Africa who had adopted a baby oryx! African lions have been decimated by tribes protecting their herds and this lioness had lost her pride. Young and alone without the social order of a pride to protect her from male lions, the lioness became confused and disoriented. The baby oryx had been separated from his mother before he was imprinted with the survival flight behavior appropriate when in the vicinity of lions. When the lioness came upon the oryx she adopted the baby and they bonded. The lioness followed the baby oryx as he searched for milk; not wanting to leave the baby unprotected, the lioness refused to hunt food for herself.
Isolated and trapped in their strange bond of love, the lioness and oryx were starving. Soon a male lion devoured the baby oryx and incredibly the lioness adopted five more baby oryx who in succession became a meal for hungry lions. Eventually the lioness disappeared into the wilderness. The tribes’ people in the area watched in wonderment this bizarre bonding of predator and prey, believing that God had sent the lioness.
The Bible predicts a time when wild and domestic animals shall lie together in peace. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Isaiah 11:6 The peculiar story of the lioness and oryx gives us a distorted glimpse of this promise of hope. Unlike this sad story of abandonment and death, however, the prophecy envisions harmony throughout nature and human existence and the restoration of perfect peace that God created in the Garden of Eden. The Christmas story provides the genesis for this prophetic fulfillment. For God sent His son as atonement for a fallen world — Jesus is our promised peace!
Like the lioness and the oryx, the world seeks an imperfect peace. Defying nature as we know it, this unlikely odd couple clung to one another out of fear, confusion, and desperation. In contrast, no fear exists in perfect peace as in perfect love. Christ demonstrated a life of fearless obedience in spite of angry opposition around Him. Though He came in peace, many rejected Him resulting in His ultimate sacrifice for our salvation. (Isaiah 49:6; 53:3 – 7) 1 2 Following His resurrection and before ascending, Christ confirmed all that was prophesied concerning Him. Just as His first coming was the fulfillment of prophecy, so shall His promised return to restore perfect peace on earth be fulfilled. (Luke 24:44 – 49) 3
The world proffers many promises of peace. There is the hope of equality in wealth, the ideal of global unity, and the vision of religious tolerance. Yet generation after generation fails to realize the Utopian dream. In an imperfect world, these aspirations fall short of their hope and fail to realize their promises, just as the lioness and the oryx could not sustain their peaceful bond in a predatory jungle.
Substitutes for His peace are mere imitations and the result is defeat, disappointment, and disillusionment. Only in the Promise of Christmas can real peace be found. Christ offers us the sure way to peace in this life and through the promise of His second coming, world wide peace unattainable through human design or endeavor.
When abandoned, fearful, lost in life’s trials, turn to the Promise of Christmas and Christ shall provide all you require to enter into true peace (II Peter 1:3 – 4). 4 When shrouded in the darkness of confusion, and tempted to grasp at the world’s dazzling promises, seek the true light of Christ and your pathway shall be illuminated (John 8:12; Psalms 119:105).5 6 When discouraged and disparaged by those whose claims of help are empty, put your faith in the one who is faithful, Jesus, who is the both the promised Lamb and Lion (Isaiah 26:3; Hebrews 10:23). 7 8
For God sent not a lost and bewildered lioness, but the Lion of Judah, our deliverer (“Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome!” Revelation 5:5) and the Lamb of God, our savior (“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29). This Christmas put your faith not in the false promises of worldly peace, but in the Prince of Peace, the Christ of Christmas!
- Isaiah 49:6
It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.
- Isaiah 53:3 – 7
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
- Luke 24:44 – 49
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. The told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
- II Peter 1:3 – 4
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world cased by evil desires.
- John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- Psalms 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
- Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
- Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.