Thursday: Psalm 30; Isaiah 11.1-10; Philippians 2.12-30

From: Kelly Kohler

I love trees—Christmas trees, apple trees, live oaks, dogwoods, cherry blossoms—they are beautiful images of both consistency and change. 

Over Thanksgiving I wandered along the river with my brothers, taking in all the colors of the changing leaves (they don't fall so quickly in the south) and the sun beams peeking through the gaps between branches. We all stopped in front a hill with a tall tree at the top and it's deep, gnarly roots all exposed down the front of the hill. So old and unique. I needed that pause, a few minutes to stand there surrounded by family, in awe of God's creation, and be reminded of His promises. That big old tree started as just a tiny seed, a tender shoot. 

I love the imagery in these verses today: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

A small and humble beginning—from David, the little shepherd boy, son of Jesse—came a great and mighty king! A new branch from the old root, a promise that humble baby Jesus will be a Greater David, the King of kings. 

And a little child [the Messiah!] will lead them.

Today's readings also paint a picture of peace that only Christ brings, peace that I need and have been clinging to recently because it seems so rare in our world. 

We have a deep and rich heritage in Christ. May we find our identity in Him alone and rest in His peace especially during this season, a time when so many are anxious, overwhelmed, and aware of our shortcomings as the year winds down. I pray that we see the fruit of God at work in our lives and give thanks to him for hearing our cries, for turning our wailing into joyous dancing. 

Lead us, Lord. May we be rooted in your peace and experience great joy through Christ.

I live in Brookline and will gladly talk Boston's best restaurants, college hoops (Go Heels!), or public health adventures with you any day.