We are all familiar with the great symbol of the Christmas tree and all that it means for this time of year. Yet, for our Jewish ancestors, the time of waiting for the Messiah was focused not only a tree, but on a stump and on a shoot that was to spout from that stump. The tree spoken of here is not a Christmas tree, but a family tree…the family tree of King David.
When the prophet Jeremiah in today’s first reading speaks of a “shoot” he is referring to the Messiah who would come from the family tree of David and would save the Jewish people. Jeremiah was writing at a time of great trouble for Jerusalem, where they were desperate for the coming of the Messiah. We too have many great struggles in life. The world appears broken and inadequate in so many ways and we know that we contribute to this with our sin. We too are in need of a savior. The good news is that we’ve got one. He has come and he is coming back.
This Advent, let’s not be afraid to acknowledge all the ways in which perhaps our life seems a bit like a lifeless stump. The good news of Advent is that it will not stay this way. A shoot shall sprout from the stump. The Messiah will return. Let our prayer be that of the early church…Marana Tha…Come Lord Jesus.