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December 10, 2019

Scripture Isaiah 11: 1–9

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-2 NRSV

The prospect of a Saviour became a lifelong devotion for many in Palestine at the time of the birth of Jesus. This longing for justice and righteousness had been described by the prophets as seen in the scripture lesson above. This event would be a momentous occasion. But, when it actually came upon them it was unexpected and, even more curiously, in a humble setting. This Messiah was not from royalty, or the wealthy, or from those with political influence. He came into the world in a manger, as we are told in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

What other unexpected events await us during this special time of the year? Are we open to sudden and wonderful news that might escape our attention? Too often, we are depending on our culture, our work environment, our schoolmates, our closest friends to provide the clues and context. The prophet Isaiah is asking us to think in a new way: to think about the future as if it already were present and to act on a promise that is already given and coming true. This is a different type of awareness: one that requires continual replenishment. This is reason enough to gather in worship as a community of faith to learn from one another, to learn from God and Christ, and to better understand this event and its affect on our lives and our service in ministry.

Advent is that time of preparation. Let us stay the course with prayer, worship, and individual devotional practices as we await the coming of Christ into the world.

Stan Reid


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