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Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  We begin our Christmas series this Sunday, All I want for Christmas.  It is such a simple phrase, but it is filled with expectations.  One of the great struggles in life is to get our expectations to match the reality of our living.  When what we expect is completely out of step with the events of our lives, it causes stress, fear, anger, despair, and a host of other negative emotions.  Or, when we feel we have failed the expectations of others it creates guilt, fear, uncertainty, and shame.  The problem with expectations, whether in our minds or in the minds of others, is that they can create a sense of discontentment, and dissatisfaction in our souls.  In our lives and in the American society there seems to be a rising tide of discontent because we believe there should be more.  The first sermon in this series All I Want for Christmas is Contentment.  What will give you a deeper sense of contentment rather than failing your expectations?   This is difficult because to experience human existence is to find disappointment and failure.  Our scripture is from Isaiah 11:1-10.  This is the exceptional vision of God’s Peaceable Kingdom where the lion will feed with the lamb, and the child will play over the den of vipers!  Nothing will be harmed or destroyed in this Kingdom.  We are tempted to believe that this is just a nice vision and it does not help us with the dissatisfaction of our lives.  This vision comes out of a great moment of disappointment, shame, and failure, but God was not content to forsake his people to their broken ways or their broken lives.  It reminds us that God’s redemption is a power, it is real, and it is for all of us.  More importantly, it is not a distant reality, but it is one that presently can give great contentment of heart and soul regardless of our circumstances!  We pray that you will find the joy and power of God’s redemption as well as a deep sense that you are being filled to overflowing as you read Isaiah 11:1-10: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD– 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. (NIV)