Advent 2016

Stumps…shoots…and the waiting

They sit in the space between my home and the one my parent’s live in…once tall, stately beings reaching high into the sky.

We trim weeds growing around them, but that’s about it. They offer no shade, no home for nesting birds, no fallen leaves to play in. My husband mentions we should grind them to nothing, but this morning’s Advent reading gives me reason to pause.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him…–Isaiah 11:1-2

The old stumps look dead to me, and there are more stumps in my life than the ones out in the yard. Places looking dead from my perspective. Mostly I avoid them altogether, hoping not to trip or back the car over them. Places where pain is real and it might be best just to grind it all up as if it never existed.
Isaiah’s words leave me questioning. How does a shoot come from something void of life? And maybe the stumps in my life aren’t dead at all. Could it be down in the darkness of soil a work is going on I just can’t see? Is it possible roots are digging deep…drinking in living water…nourished by the Bread of Life?

I can’t see it from here, but faith is not about what we see. Faith is the assurance of things unseen.

In the midst of faith there’s the waiting…and I’ve been tempted to grind up those things I’ve been waiting on just so I can avoid tripping over them. 
Advent begins and I’m reminded how long God’s people waited. Some seven hundred years passed before Isaiah’s words became reality. Some gave up…some created there own perspective of the Messiah’s coming to the point they denied the miracle in Bethlehem all together. 

A shoot will come from the stump…

It did you know. A shoot came forth there in the stable one holy night. What seemed dead and gone…ready for grinding…became the whole wide world’s salvation. 
Only one word floats slowly to the surface of all my waiting and yours too. One word driving us to wait with anticipation as we gaze upon the stumps in our lives. One word…hope.



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