WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19                        ISAIAH 11:1-9                                     BEVERLY SPRINGER
A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots. 2 The LORD’s spirit will rest upon him, a
spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of planning and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD. 3 He will
delight in fearing the LORD. He won’t judge by appearances, nor decide by hearsay. 4 He will judge the needy with
righteousness, and decide with equity for those who suffer in the land. He will strike the violent with the rod of his mouth; by
the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be the belt around his hips, and faithfulness the belt around
his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion will feed together, and a little child will lead them.7 The cow and the bear will graze. Their young will lie down together, and
a lion will eat straw like an ox. 8 A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole; toddlers will reach right over the serpent’s
den. 9 They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain. The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the
LORD, just as the water covers the sea. 

It is February, and our Christmas tree in all its splendor is still standing in our living room. It remains because I haven’t had
the heart to take it down, for underneath it there is still one lone unopened, untouched present just sitting there collecting
dust. Months earlier I had painstakingly chosen the perfect gift for our four-year-old granddaughter. I wrapped it carefully in shiny red paper with wide gold ribbon, set it lovingly under the tree and eagerly looked forward to the excitement and joy that
would come when she opened it. However, since that present had been placed under the tree, the parents of our precious
granddaughter had told my husband and I they no longer wanted us to be a part of their lives. The few months since, with no
contact nor communication with them, already felt like forever, and there seemed to be no hope for reconciliation. Well, time
passed and the tree came down and eventually so did the barriers in our relationship with our family.
In the chapter leading up to our reading for today, Isaiah describes God’s wrath against human rebellion and sin. The prophet
likened it to God taking an ax and cutting down a hillside of trees, leaving nothing but desolate stumps. But wait, says Isaiah:
“A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.” There is hope for God’s people! God
plans to raise up a Savior, who will get rid of the chaos and ugliness of the world and establish a kingdom of peace and
God healed the broken relationship in our family. And there is great joy! Imagine the remarkable joy that exists when the
broken relationship between us and God is restored. As we recount the stories of God’s faithfulness, may we abound in hope,
love, joy, peace, and faith in God’s promises of a full life in Christ. Amen.

Prayer: For broken relationships.