The Jesse Tree at Advent

Isaiah 11:1 “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”

Remember – I do not come from high-church tradition, so I am muddling along – looking for ways to observe this season in meaningful ways.   You can google-search and learn all about Jesse Trees {here is one}.  But I have decided to stop for a few minutes daily and listen to a song and meditate on all Jesus came to do via lyric and melody.

O Christmas Tree.

I love the trees of Christmas.  I love lights on them and sparkly ornaments that reflect the light (isn’t the spiritual connection just so obvious?).  I love that the trees are evergreens.  Because everything about all of it that my mom or Sunday School teachers ever taught me?  I believe, still and I am reminded and renewed in my gratefulness for the Savior annually.

the tree 2011

My Christmas tree’s branches are green, representing the eternal life Jesus’s death and resurrection made available to us.  But if you stripped away the needles and greenery to the bare trunk and you attached a large branch across, you’d seen the barren tree of a curse where God once hung His greatest gift to us.  Jesus wasn’t the gift under the tree, but the gift on a tree.

So annually, we plop a tree up in the living room and string it with lights to remember and observe.   This will never be a pagan ritual for me.  It will ever and always symbolize a Savior, redemption from the curse and green-everlasting and eternal life.

So, pondering this today, I thought of another scripture I love so much.  It speaks to the things that come to try to take our freedom from the curse of sin and death.  It speaks to the heartbreak of broken relationships and addictions or any gut-wrenching pain that has invaded our homes.  It brings hope to the heaviness of our past which may try to rest on us, and against those things that tear our families apart. It promises hope and healing for the diseased and iniquities.  There is hope for a tree, it says in Job:

“At least there is hope for a tree:  If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.  Its roots may grow old in the ground  and its stump die in the soil,  yet at the scent of water it will bud  and put forth shoots like a plant.”   Job 14.7-9

Is this good news, or what?  You know it’s true.  You know a tree can be struck by lightning, mangled by a runaway car or chopped down by a property owner.  It can seem totally defeated by age and bad care, but suddenly, after a rain, new shoots!

So the song I listened to today, to give me that short, song-length reprieve from all the other innumerable things there are to do, is an old Kent Henry song, “Lord I Live by Your Word.”

So many scriptures use the tree as imagery.  The Tree of Life in Genesis shows up again in the last chapter of Revelation.  Jesus is the way to God, He is the Living Word,  the Tree of Life.  And in my living room, there is a green tree filled with lights reminding me that the long awaited Savior did all He came to do – in an everlasting way!

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