John 10:27–28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Alexa! Hey Siri! OK Garmin! These are names associated with voice recognition technology that enables a machine or computer program to receive, interpret, understand and respond. Even if you personally have never used them, you’ve likely heard those names. I suggest there’s an even more important name associated with voice recognition technology…Jesus!
This verse from John is my evidence that God should be the one to get credit for what seems to be a “new” technology that enables those who follow his Son to receive, interpret, understand, hear, recognize…and follow the voice of their Shepherd…and he will respond, “I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” Listen! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain; Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim. Kings and kingdoms will all pass away but there’s something about that name. [Bill Gaither]
Isaiah 11:1 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.
My only other “Jesse Tree” was made for a church decoration years ago early in my own faith journey. I was caught up with the idea of a simple branch as a decoration. This year it’s different. The origami Stars are folded around the Word of Light for each post to help me remember. The ornaments for the days in between posts represent ways I do remember God has worked in my life. This year the Jesse Tree is more than a decoration.
Isaiah told about gifts the Savior would receive, “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.”
There’s a little piece of knitting to remember my first real awareness that God could use ordinary hands and a pair of knitting needles for his purposes. Prayer Shawls were knit with nothing more than those hands and trust that God would open my eyes to recognize a connection he’d made between his heart and my hands to know who should receive that shawl. Giving away those shawls was an unexpected gift that changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.
This year the Jesse Tree is my visual reminder of why I choose to spend these days remembering the Big Event; the birth of our Savior. I can see with my own eyes how the branch is changing as the ornaments are added each day. They are the gifts received, remembered and returned that make the branch beautiful and add Isaiah’s capital “B.” God bless the fruit of the Branch.