Photo taken by Danny Orlando at Fontana View 2 cabin in the Nantahalas
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit.
Pastor Wallace tells us the story of his visit years ago with Jim, one of his church members, who recently purchased a farm. As he turns his car from the main road onto the long, gravel driveway which winds its way to the house, Wallace is duly impressed by the expanse of the place. Acres and acres of fenced pastures sprawl on either side of the road where cattle, too numerous to count, graze peacefully.
When Wallace finally pulls up to the farmhouse, Jim is sitting in a rocker on the front porch.
"Quite a place you have here, Jim," Wallace calls as he exits the car. "Hope you're planning to give me the grand tour."
"Sure thing, Preacher," Jim assures him. "But, there's something I want to show you first. In all my born days, ain't seen nothing like it."
The two men stride to the pasture gate with Jim leading the way.
"It's a bit of a walk, Preacher, but I promise it's well worth it. Just watch where you step. Cow dung."
Wallace doesn't need to be told twice to keep his eyes peeled for that pitfall. They stroll in companionable silence through the seemingly endless sea of grass. Cows pause momentarily in their cud-chewing to eye the men as they pass by. But, unruffled by the unexpected company, they quickly and calmly resume their dining routines.
"Not much farther," Jim says. "It's just over that rise yonder."
When Wallace and Jim reach the top of the hill, the spy the fence not 20 feet away.
"Do you see it?" Jim asks.
"See what? What am I looking for? You haven't told me."
Jim grins broadly and points to a fence post. Wallace's jaw drops. He can't believe his eyes! Rising up from the supposedly treated lumber is a living shoot, a small branch green and supple.
"Well, I'll be," says Wallace in amazement. "I've seen shoots spring up from stumps, but never anything like this!"
"Kind of a miracle, don't you think, Preacher?"
"A miracle it is, indeed, my friend. And, what a wonderful reminder for us that with God, nothing is impossible."
During this season of Advent, will you let the God of the Impossible work His miracles of new growth in you?
Will you pray with me?
Father, as we celebrate Advent, graft in our hearts the growing, thriving branch of Your peace, Your love, and Your hope. May we all bear good fruit and spread Your good news of great joy to all we meet, not just at Christmas, but every day of the year. Amen.