2020 is going to be a different kind of Christmas – and Thanksgiving was the training meal: few family members permitted inside our homes, no travel planned, no crowded churches with jubilant hymns, no lingering in busy stores.
But is this “different” year actually so different – is it the pattern of recent years? Has Plan A been abandoned for Plan B or C or Z? Retirement plans down-sized? Children a worry or frustration? Health now a limitation? Living suddenly alone after losing a spouse?
This Sunday’s scripture lesson is about Christmas, but so much more – it is about our daily lives of disrupted dreams. In this prophetic verse from Isaiah, a dying stump is regenerated:
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”
Isaiah is proclaiming that God especially works with stumps – broken trees and disrupted lives and even a Messiah on a cross. God’s power is different than worldly power. It arises not from perfect plans and pedigrees – it arises from tall trees, cut low.
This Christmas may seem “different,” but perhaps it is actually the truest Christmas you’ll yet experience – where disrupted plans and stunted hopes provide the perfect place for God’s power to shine.
This Sunday we’ll think about Isaiah’s different Christmas message, and what it means for our different lives!