LIVING HOPE

ADVENT reflections

As we journey towards Christmas this year, we know that everything will be different. 
To help us on our pilgrimage, we asked 25 people to prepare a meditation
for us to read and listen to every day through Advent. 
We are delighted to share their work with you.

God bless you as you read, listen and pray.

DECEMBER 1

Day 1: Isaiah 11: 1-10 

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 –
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord –
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;
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.
Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash round his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting-place will be glorious. 

 

Reflection

How are your levels of hope right now? Waning a little? You’d be forgiven if so; 2020 has taken its toll on all of us, and on how we see the world and its future. But Christmas is always a time when we can see our sense of hope boosted, as we remember where our hope as Christians truly comes from. This year that feels more needed than ever.

It’s always astonishing to me when Jesus is described so clearly in the Old Testament, so many years before he was born. This description in Isaiah chapter 11 – of who Jesus would come to be in first century Judea, and who he will then become in a more eternal sense – is mind blowing.  Just listen to this:

He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

Jesus is going to make right, all the wrongs of the world. Think bigger than just the sickness which is on all of our minds; he’s going to repair everything – make everything new again. And he began that process when he came to that world as a tiny baby. Isaiah describes this wonderfully, in terms of the very significant family line which Jesus was born into through his earthly father Joseph.  He writes:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

and a little later on:

…A little child will lead them

Right now the world is in desperate need of some “green shoots” – some signs of hope that the whole world has a future beyond our present troubles. Isaiah tells us that Jesus is the ultimate green shoot. This Christmas, may we all hold on tighter to that living hope than ever before.                            

Martin Saunders – Youth Minister