Monday, November 29, 2010
Advent Devotions -- Jesse's Tree
Tuesday November 30 -- Isaiah 11:1-9 & Luke 1:26-38
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.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Isaiah 1:1-4 New International Version
One of the major themes of Advent season -- the four weeks leading up to Christmas -- is hope. During these 28 days we should feel a growing sense of holy anticipation. In that regard - even the anticipation that our culture at large feels about opening presents and festive family dinners can be our friend. As much as we complain about the seasonal preparations, about present buying and card sending and house decorating, we do them. And we enjoy them.
Those of us who are true followers of Jesus Christ also understand that there is another deeper reason we anticipate Christmas. Our deepest anticipation centers on the coming of the Messiah. He came once in history. He will come to us by His Spirit in our times of worship and prayer this holy season. And one day at the end of time He will come again to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. On Christmas Day most of us will open presents just like everyone else. But in some very sacred and special moments on that same day we will celebrate our Saviour's birth.
The Jesse Tree is an ancient method of celebrating the truth of this Old Testament passage. Jesus was a very real person from a very human family. Trace his ancestry back and you come to King David whose father was Jesse. We didn't make Him up. He wasn't a figment of someone's overworked imagination. He was the fulfillment of the prophet's ancient prediction. Jesus is the shoot who sprouted. He is the Branch who bears much fruit. He is the One on whom the Spirit of wisdom rests. There is no one else quite like Him.
Aren't you glad?