“The mattering part is never what isn’t. The mattering part is never the chopped-off stump. It isn’t what dream has been cut down, what hope has been cut off, what part of the heart has been cut out. The tender mattering part is–you have a Tree.” ~ Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas
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.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist. Isaiah 11:1-5
Perhaps this Christmas season you find yourself in the midst of degenerate genealogy. At some point, your family tree split and broke off, branches falling away and dying. Perhaps the beautiful grove you envisioned seems to be replaced by tree stumps and dry roots. Out of all this comes life? How?
Jesus Christ himself rose from an ancestry of misfits. His lineage was coarse and cracked. Judah, Rahab, Bathsheba, etc. Yet, out of this broken tree grew our Perfect and Wise Redeemer. And by this Branch, we can all be grafted into His Tree of Life.
As the kids and I anticipate His coming, we read through the passages of the Story (from Creation to the Incarnation) and color symbols for our Jesse tree. Through this process, we are reminded that He has a plan. Prophesied long before his coming, Jesus knew His life and death would take us from death to life. He grants us a second chance at life–a gift to forever grow in Him.
Immanuel – “…She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’” Is. 7:14
One Who Sets Free – “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Resurrection and the Life – “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Is. 9:6