16 Dec

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Throughout the season of Advent, many people use an Advent wreath to help them mark the passing of the weeks. Lighting the candles at mealtime and praying prayers or singing hymns, they remain focused upon the season and its many themes. There are other things that can be used as well. One of them is the Jesse Tree.

The Jesse Tree reminds us of the prophecy that, from the stump of Jesse’s lineage, a new King would come to God’s people. The history of God’s people was a vast history reflecting both good times and horrible times, peaceful times and savage times. Kings throughout the ages led God’s people and, more often than not, failed God’s people. Their hope was always rooted in a King coming to them who would deliver them from bondage and take them to God’s Promised Land.

Our history is rooted in savagery, in misery, in conquest, in persecution, and in a whole host of other ills. When we look back on all of that, we might not find much hope. However, our heritage is not rooted in our wicked past. Our heritage is rooted in God and God’s love. The roots of God’s love grow deep and from those roots, a Savior was given to us.

We often look at others and judge them by what we see. We don’t see or acknowledge their roots. We never look deep enough because running through everyone – you and me included – is God and God’s love. From those roots, God will give us the grace that we need in this world.

FAITH ACTION:  Try not to judge others by what you perceive. Instead, pray for them as well as yourself.