A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
I love advent. I love taking the time every day to think about how the story of the birth of Christ is the beginning of life for so many of us. It’s as if remembering all the long-ago events that led up to his actual birth is God’s way of refreshing us. I love Advent Calendars and wreaths. This year I’m going to create a digital version of a less-well-known way to remember these days leading up to Christmas, the Jesse Tree, the branch Isaiah 11:1 mentions. There’s a lot of information on the internet about that if you want to know more.
On this first day of Advent 2016 I can’t help but think of the effort God put into preparing what we are here to remember again this year. Isaiah is a perfect place to begin. Out of the root of that stump of a great tree that seemed seemed only to be lost, there came Jesus, the branch who began at the very moment of his birth to bear fruit that you and I are living proof of.
A Responsive Reading
“1:4…we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—”
People are talking. The change your faith has made in you is obvious and it strengthens our community to know that our prayers have played a part in that.
“1:9…We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives…”
It’s great to be around people who agree with what you know and understand. What’s even better, though, is the awareness that the Spirit is teaching each of us just what we need to know to agree with God himself. That’s what we want for you.
“1:10…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God”
Fruit doesn’t just happen. It’s a result of what you do AND your intimacy with God that results in your personal growth.
“1:11…so that you may have great endurance and patience”
You’ll need both of those things because our community is filled with people just like you. People who struggle to learn from each other how to endure through imperfection. People who have enough patience to believe God really is working to build This “Perfect” Community while we each practice “bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”
“1:12…and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
And everybody said Amen!