“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.”Isaiah 11:1,10
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
Who we are and where we come from has a bearing on how others see us and how we see our selves. Remembering Jesus as the root of Jesse places him in the context of his people – the Jews. Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city,Bethlehem. Micah 5:2. King David is the greatest ruler of the Jewish people, held in great regard and the model for the Jewish Messiah.
Fourteen times in the New Testament Jesus is called ‘Son of David‘ a title that people of the time would have connected to the expected Messiah. However unlike the expected idea of a military ruler connected to King David many of these occurrences are connected to people asking for healing and mercy. Isaiah describes a Messiah, a leader, that will bring in a kingdom of justice and mercy.
In the context of the three comings of Christ we remember at Advent, the Root of Jesse reminds of the context from which we come, the coming Kingdom of peace and justice and the responsibility that comes will following such a Messiah – to live as though that Kingdom is already here.
But with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.”Isaiah 11:4-5
The last week of Advent is marked by the O Antiphons, the liturgical crossover between Advent and Christmas. The emphasis moves from the expectation of the coming of Christ at the end of time to the expectation of the birth of a babe in Bethlehem. These antiphons have been used differently in different traditions through the ages but are commonly used during Evening Prayer with the Magnificat – the Song of Mary.Continue reading
I love Advent and and always one of the first to start whining about how Advent gets lost in the preparation for Christmas. There is something about Advent that reminds us that as Christians we live in-between worlds, the was, the is to come and the now. The secular season of christmas that runs parallel to Advent, and is done pretty much before the Liturgical season of Christmas has begun, is a stark reminder of the bi-cultural world most Christians find themselves inhabiting. One that Advent actually helps us to reflect upon and live out authentically.Continue reading