What if I’m
On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Today we are one week closer to standing before that stable. One week closer to welcoming the Lord.
That is a beautiful thought. My family puts up its Christmas decorations very late, days before Christmas. In the Advent spirit we are anticipating. We know that once the decorations are up, the vigil meal will be around the corner. We know that we will trek to church and witness the Babe born anew, and feel within ourselves His warmth â€“ happiness, joy, peace, and the promise that because of Him we will have peace.
But what happens when we feel dead inside. What happens when all the expectation is gone â€“ when that occasion about four weeks hence is a bore. The decorations are dusty already, the food isnâ€™t good, and church is a function rather than a joy. Some might even think they are at peace when in reality they have just become numb.
That is where Israel was. The stump of Jesse is literally the sterility of Davidâ€™s line. Jesse was Davidâ€™s father and Davidâ€™s male line was now impotent. Two hundred and seventy years after David was born to be King of Israel Isaiah told us that the dying, impotent, sterile kingship in Israel will produce its once and final King â€“ the true King â€“ the Lord Jesus.
Twenty-eight generations later. Jesus would be born of the line of David. His line â€“ all but forgotten, dusty and dead, no flavor, nothing there and life suddenly springs anew.
John sets out for the Jordan. The prophet, the forerunner, has arrived. Word spreads â€“ there is hope around the corner. Something amazing is about to happen. As the people came forward they acknowledged their sins â€“ primarily the sin of lost hope, of not believing in the promise. Thy came forward to say, â€˜Our dead hearts are waking up.â€™
Paul understood this would happen to us, so he says: May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus. Paul is telling us to keep it together, to be encouraged. Seven hundred years passed between Isaiah and Jesus. That is a lot of dust, a lot of boredom, and a lot of numbness. Life and joy lost.
What if weâ€™re bored? What do we do? Start here: Surrender our pre-conceived to-do list. Time to change things up â€“ to build a spirit of anticipation. Then, when the moment comes, we find in it the full power of the promise that is ours.