11 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 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. 3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4 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.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. 6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 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.
When I reflect on this passage, two words come to mind: peace and hope. During Advent, as we anticipate and celebrate the birth of Christ, these words hold even greater weight. The last two years have placed barriers of all shapes and sizes in front of us, and yet we continue to hope for peace and find peace in our continued hope. Isaiah 11:1 states that “a shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” As the products of Jesus’ love and sacrifice, we are given a chance at a meaningful life only because we grew from his branch. In the season of Advent, I remind myself that it is not about the beautiful fruits I see surrounding me, but the strong, sturdy branch that has provided a foundation in faith on which my entire life stands. I find peace knowing that we are not perfect, because in our imperfections is the chance to marvel at Christ’s perfection. In times of despair, it is his love that buoys us. In times of confusion, it is his love that guides us. In times of joy, it is his love that elates us. We should not be quick to judge, but quick to love. Someday, enemies will lie together in peace and harmony. It is my hope that we can make someday today.
Dear God, I pray we continue to look for hope in even the darkest of places and that we find peace in our faith and our families, however we define them. Amen.