It is a crisp cool day in late fall. The trees are almost bare, save for a few stalwart leaves holding fast against their certain demise. The turkey has been eaten but the glow of gratitude remains. And my family is trekking into the woods. Eyes peeled not for the bright green of a pine tree but for a bare branch.
Isaiah 11:1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (ESV)
And in the space of this ordinary walk something miraculous starts happening, our hearts start turning toward the birth of our Savior. This year advent Sunday is a whole week away but somehow despite our best intentions, we just cannot help ourselves. The tree and lights will come later, and all the pomp and circumstance of the season.
But for now a bare branch. A shoot rising from the stump of Jesse. Our hope in the midst of despair. The glimmer in the darkness.
The wind blows, my kids race ahead up the path. My strong steady husband carries the branch out of the woods. Our pockets plump with natures treasures, rocks, pinecones, even a cattail and we are headed home.
Isaiah 11:6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.