For our first Christmas in Australia, I insisted that we find a living tree we loved that would grow, like us and with us, in this new land.
After several futile trips to garden centres and nurseries, we finally found the perfect little Norway Spruce and planted it in a big red pot and surrounded with poinsettias to mark the season. The tree itself was so small, however, that we had to hang the lights and few ornaments that we had held onto on a metal frame around the fragile branches.
This morning, as I braced myself to lug it from its sunny spot by the front door into the lounge, I realised that it is actually as tall as I am – and I’ll probably need a few more muscles to get the job done.
The lovely little leaves and acorns that I bought as decorations will probably also just disappear among the branches but they are symbols to me of the living hope that we honour and nurture in the time of Advent.
Yesterday, we read in the words of the prophet Micah, a reference to the Promised One coming to a little and unlikely place. But we also read that this One still to be born will have ancient roots.
Isaiah, too, writes of these old, old origins blending the promise that is to come into a past in which God has always been faithful:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;Isaiah 11:1
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
This is a great mystery of the Christian faith: that both past and promise inform our present hopes, dreams, and choices in life-givng, creative tension.
I’ll elaborate on that a little more tomorrow, but today I’d simply like to link you to a song by Heather Price entitled “Seed of Hope” which is a prayer for our environment in a time when we celebrate new life and beginnings and also recognise the ongoing hardships of those threatened by drought and bushfire.
Click on 07 Seed of hope on the website: https://heatherprice.com.au/downloads/carols-in-the-sun/