read: “A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.” –Isaiah 11:1
reflect: A shoot coming from the stump, how about that. When you thought the garden was dead for sure, one last green leaf popped from the brown, dry soil. When you thought the friendship was gone, suddenly laughter came again. When you thought you could not live life after she died, you felt love again and considered that maybe, you could go on. When you had given up on getting a job, a phone call came asking when you could start. A shoot coming from the stump.
Here in Isaiah the stump is Jesse, the father of the most important king of Israel, King David. David was the last of Jesse’s sons. Jesse thought he was finished, dried up, no more offspring. Then God gave him David. And you may know that generations later, from David and his wife Bathsheba, through Joseph and Mary, came Jesus Christ.
It is probably a pretty rare occurrence I suppose, new growth coming from what is dead. But it happens. And today, as we begin Advent, we are called to look for it. By the way, Jesse’s name, in Hebrew, means God’s gift. Even our stumps could bear God’s gifts?
pray: God of new life, help me see not just what was, but what is coming. Amen.
with children: Look around your yard or neighborhood for something that has already died out for the winter. Ask: Do you think this will bloom again? When? How do you know? Talk about that.
act: Pray for a family living at the Odessa Crisis Center while they struggle to escape domestic violence. Ask God for new life to come for their family.