Monday, 1 December 2014

Jesus is I AM - Advent day 1

Hey, long time no blog?  Is there anybody out there...out there...ooooouuuttttt theeeeeerrrrrreeeee??

[Edit to add:  I should say, the reason I've been gone so long is that we've MOVED HOUSE!! YAY!  And I was also at the end of my Bible College term and was writing a bazillion essays...well, perhaps not a bazillion.]

Any-road-up, I wanted to post about Advent.

I just love Advent.  Something about talking about light when the nights are getting darker is yummy.

You probably know, but I'm going to tell you anyway, that Advent means 'coming' in Latin.  And it's a season of not only getting excited about Christmas (huzzah pressies!), but also a time of reflection on and preparation for the second coming of Jesus - and how we live with Him and in Him in the interim.

Advent is about waiting, with hope, joy and expectancy.  But Advent isn't just for Christmas.  Our whole lives are to be lived in Advent, as we wait upon the Lord.  We are, as described by Pete Greig on an Alpha course video, living in the overlap between Kingdom near and Kingdom come...He is here with us (our Immanuel), but we haven't yet received the perfection full bodily redemption that will come at the end.  So we wait...upon Him and with Him and in Him for that day.

So this year we're doing a Jesse tree for Advent.  We haven't done one before.  I printed off some ornaments that I found online that we will hang on the tree and I've printed off the Names of Jesus to make a kind of chain with.  I've also written some devotionals partly for me...because I love writing...but also to get an idea of themes for each day to chat about with the girls.

Some twigs from the garden painted silver in a decorated pot. :)  The picture above is a painting Squidge did a few years ago.

The girls' Advent calendars. Shiny!

Our Advent wreath.  We lit the first candle on Sunday. Yay!


Why the Jesse tree?

1 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 Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord –
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
    or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash round his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting-place will be glorious.
~Isaiah 11

NAME OF JESUS:  The Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13)


In Isaiah’s prophecy, the throne of David, son of Jesse, would at some point look like it was destroyed, lost forever.  Where was God’s promise that David would have a son on the throne forever?  But the prophecy tells us that what will seem dead, cut down and destroyed, actually still contains life.  Like a dried up seed looks dead in the palm of your hand, but in reality it is a rainbow of colour and life not yet released.  We only see the dead wood, but from God’s perspective there is always a rainbow of hope and promise, there is always life. From the seed of Jesse grew a great tree, an eternal tree, a tree of life – Jesus, and his Kingdom will not be like the reigns of the earthly kings of Jesse's line - messed up and grotty - of HIS perfect kingdom there will be no end.

Jesus is the root of Jesse and He is the branch of Jesse.  Beginning and end.

The Alpha and Omega - beginning and end. This is Jesus’ great name revealed in the Book of Revelation. Hebrews tells us too that He is the Author and He is the Finisher of our faith.  He created this world, (as God created all things through Him) and He is instrumental in bringing about the end of all things.  What He started He will complete.  But it isn't the end...with God it's never the end, but the beginning.

Because Jesus is LIFE – life in all its glorious abundance – eternal life: no end and no beginning.  He is our breath of life – He gave us earthly life and then He gives us heavenly life right now. He is the beginning and the end.  But He never ends and He never began!  Glorious mystery!  He always is and always will be: “I AM”  And in this is that glorious hope.

Do you feel like Jesse today?  That big dream, that glorious future you thought was yours seems in tatters or just didn't quite turn out how you imagined.  Cut down.  Illness.  Financial loss. Loss of love. Weariness.  If you are facing an ending, Jesus is there with you. Though you feel cut down and broken sometimes there in our most broken place – like a leaf poking through the crack in a paving stone – life breaks through.   If you are facing a new beginning and the change just feels too much, you didn't want change or it’s not what you imagined, Jesus is there with you – from the stump of broken dreams life can still grow.

Don’t live in fear of an ending – because maybe, just maybe, God is creating something new.  Where there is an end, for God there is always life.  After the end there is always a beginning – because Christ is both…in Him even death is not the end.
Listen to Him today: “Before Abraham was born, I AM”(John 8:58).  Be with Him in the moment, every moment, today and in all your endings and beginnings…and in all the middle bits too.

Happy Advent!

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