read: On that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal to the peoples. The nations will seek him out, and his dwelling will be glorious. -Isaiah 11:10
reflect: Remember that Jesse was the father of King David, the greatest king of Israel. Jesus came from Jesse’s lineage (as the song “O How a Rose E’er Blooming” goes). Christians see Jesus as the new sprout of life that came from Jesse to fulfill our hope of the peaceful reign of God. Paul, the Christian missionary, picks up this verse from Isaiah when he is writing to the church in Rome at the end of the 1st century:
There will be a root of Jesse, who will also rise to rule the Gentiles. All nations will place their hope in him. -Romans 15:12
All nations will put their hope in the root of Jesse. Where do the nations normally place our hopes? In our military, in our leaders, in our economic might, in our ideals, in our history, in our allies? Where do you and I normally place our hopes? In our health, our friends, our significant others, our skills, our children, our money, our education, our church? All of these can be good gifts! Yet can any of these always fulfill our hopes?
The root of every good gift in our lives is the root of Jesse. When we acknowledge Jesus as the root of our lives, we raise him to rule our lives. We place all our hopes in him.
pray: Jesus, our hopes are high, and they are set on you. May the hopes and fear of all my years be met in thee, tonight- and every day. Amen.
with children: Make a hope jar. Any container will do. Write or draw pictures of things you hope for. Put your hopes in the jar, as a tangible form of prayer to God. Put the jar in a special place. When you have more hopes, add them. After Christmas, take down the jar and see which hopes are fulfilled. Praise God for those. Return the hopes you are waiting on still to the jar, and confirm your trust in the Lord.
act: Write a note of encouragement to someone you know who seems low on hope.