We did not get a real tree at Christmas time. My brother and I were allergic to the pine. I remember one Christmas I helped my dad put up the “real” tree and when I took my arm out of the tree it was all red!! That Christmas we went to the fake tree.
Have you ever looked at a tree farm after Christmas? Under all the snow all you see is a bunch of stumps.
Today’s Old Testament Lesson reading spoke about a dead tree stump, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse.”
Jesse was the father of King David and all his descendants who ruled over Judah-the Southern Kingdom. When those kings turned away from God to lead their people in the worship of false idols, the Lord cut off their kingship and sent His people into exile. The strong family tree was cut off and only a dead stump remained. For centuries not a single king rose from that stump to rule on their throne. All that could be seen was the dead stump of the line of David.
But in the fullness of time a shoot began to grow out of that stump. That shoot was Jesus Christ. He was born a baby and laid to sleep in Bethlehem’s manger. He didn’t come to claim any earthly kingdom as His own. Instead, He came as our King to battle our enemies: Satan, sin, death, and hell.
Though He Himself was cut down on the cross, and His lifeless body was laid in the tomb, Christ rose again from the grave with power and great glory. Through Baptism He makes us alive to God though we were dead in our sins. Through His Word He makes us wise in the ways of His salvation, and in Holy Communion He gives us His body and blood by which He paid for our sins and won our redemption. Now He lives to guide us on our journey to our heavenly home.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son as a tender shoot out of a dead tree stump. He has saved us from our sins and opened the Kingdom of heaven to us. Help us tell the whole world of His wonderful salvation. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.