A Shoot From the Stump of Our Lives

I have never noticed the slanting light of winter afternoons as vividly as I have this Advent on our daily family walk — a walk that has become our custom in 2020 just to get out of the house. The sun eases her way over the horizon these days — coming up late, going down early. She shows herself for only eight hours or so and then leaves us in the darkness speckled with the twinkling Christmas lights of our neighborhood. Advent feels more advent-like than normal as we wait, wait for the world to breathe again, wait for things to be normal again, wait most of all for Christ to come on Christmas morning. Perhaps his coming into our hearts again this year will change everything as it did on that first Christmas.

Isaiah wrote about the coming of Christ in these words we hear every Advent, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). The prophet’s words were talking about the line of the family of Jesse, the father of David. They were words for the chosen, faithful people of God, but they lost their way again and again and again. When Jesus came as a little baby — God made man — he was this shoot coming out from this stump of the broken line of kings, a stump of the chosen people unable to stay close to God, a stump of all fallen humanity unable to know God on their own.

Read the rest at the National Catholic Register…