To begin the beginning...
it never ceases to amaze me.
The kindness, the mercy, the grace and love of strangely friendlies.
People I've never seen face to face or exchanged a hug or single word with
reaching out through the strangeness of time and space
to speak a word of comfort, encouragement, peace
Sisters who share a passion and hope.
A purpose and longing.
Blessing upon blessing you send out
to be recieved.
I have this thing about Christmas trees. For years, I worked at creating the "perfect" tree. Collecting coordinating ornaments, scouring magazines and cannibalizing ideas from other people's homes.
Only letting the guys set the tree up, and me, listening to Christmas music, decorating it alone.
I've had my perfect tree. Only to find out just what that tree was from a purely historical perspective.
A pagan custom adopted by Christians to make things easier.
Sort of like me decorating the tree. It was easier. No fighting. No sibling rivalry over who's doing the best job. No wrestling over who puts the star on. No wobbling, tinkling, teetering tree because of rough, excited little hands.
This year, I didn't even want to put the tree up. I saw it as an un-holy symbol of all that has gone wrong with Christmas. I mean, Christmas can't even be pinpointed as His birthday. We've outshopped each other to try and outgive the Greatest Giver of All.
I think we're close in celebrating His conception...which I believe was during Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. What better way for the Light of the World to be conceived than during a time celebrating the return of Holy Light to the Temple? For eight days this miracle is celebrated. Eight days is also how long the Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated.
I think it is during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) that He was born.
It was in the Tabernacle in the wilderness, that God dwelt with the Israelites.
Isn't it just like Him to send Himself Incarnate, Emmanuel, God With Us, to be born in the flesh during a holy festival celebrating this...where the priests sang a song of praise "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to the people of goodwill."
To be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem in Hebrew means "house of bread". What more fitting place for the Bread of Life to be born?
We've been to an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We took hubby love's parents and our boys, headed north and stood in awe!
I encourage you to read through this thoughtful and insightful post...I did. Until I hit this translation of a fragment from Isaiah. "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 blog's author tells me "We're standing before a 2,100 year old Jesse tree. A Jesse tree that hadn't yet seen the star shining in the manger, a Jesse tree that still only prophesied His glorious coming...a Jesse tree that believed."
So...I've been doing some research. In the same book I'm told about the Jesse tree, I find this "Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed." Is 55:13.
And I am blown away.
The Father tells me through Isaiah that the pine tree will be an "everlasting sign" of Living Water and the Bread of Life...given freely at no cost to me...that will satisfy and is worthy of my labor.
Of "food" that is good for me to eat and will delight my soul.
A sign to remember an invitation to "Give ear and come to me; hear me, that my soul may live." He invites me to seek Him and call on Him.
He covenants with me! He promises me His faithful love. Mercy. A pardon.
A going out in joy.
Being led in peace.
And "the mountains and hillswill burst into song before you,and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
What a journey I have taken this morning. How far I have come and I do rejoice!
The blog's author writes, "At home by the fireplace, our Jesse tree stands on the other side of Calvary's Tree. Our Advent is one of waiting for the coming we know that comes, of prophecy fulfilled, eternal life shooting from the truncated."
Thank you, Ann. For your beautiful words that have given me back the magic and true meaning of the Christmas Tree.