Isaiah 11:1 – A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
This passage from Isaiah is a familiar one for the Advent Season. I know that I have read it often, but it has only been recently that this image of a stump has really intrigued me. Where we live, on Vancouver Island, we have a natural rainforest that we often frequent, which is called Goldstream Park. If you walk through the park, you can't help but notice all the vegetation growing in what looks to be dead stumps. One of the things that sparked my interest in this image was reading that there is a Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem and one of the things that they have done at this Museum was to plant olive trees all around it. They then cut them down about two or three feet from the ground and the new shoots have grown up in all of the trees. Wow! What a powerful statement, not only for those who were involved in World War II but also for all of us. When things are at their worst, when things look hopeless and dead to us, in Christ, they're not, and new growth can happen even out of an old stump!
Prayer: God of hope and peace and joy and love, we give you thanks for this Advent Season and that in you, we can find hope and peace and joy and love. We especially lift up to you today those people who are discouraged and finding it difficult to be joyful this season. Surround them with your love; give them joy that fills to overflowing and your peace that passes all understanding, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.