Attitude of Gratitude #30. Advent. One of my friends reminded me today that thankfulness is a choice just like writing this series of gratitudes has been a choice. It is so easy to go through a day,snuggle into dreamland and never remember to be thankful. I know. I’ve done it. But as December 1 approaches, I find myself more and more thankful that it is here. The world is full of ugliness. The world seems topsy-turvy. So when Advent gets here, I am sooooo thankful. I take a deep breath and wait.
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” – Is 11:1
Come Christmas “read-the-story” time, we recognize the name “Jesse”, but the picture of Jesse, the man, is a blur. Okay,he was some kind of kin to David. Even reading the Bible cover-to-cover every year, one would really have to be looking for the story of Jesse. Like the man, his story is a blur that flickers in and out of other stories. Grandson of Ruth and Boaz (you know – the “thy people will by my people” story). It seems that his real claim to fame is his youngest son who became King David (you know – the youngster who slew Goliath with a flat stone).
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.” Lk 2:4
Sometimes, I think God is like that. He likes to tuck little stories inside the big ones. Bibles scholars have figure out that Jesse was a fairly well-to-do farmer type guy in Bethleham. Yet, out of all the people alive at that time, why does God sends Samuel to Jesse? You have to wonder. What did Jehovah-Jireh know about Jesse and his family that made them “king” material?
“Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” 1 Sam 16:1b
This is merely supposition on my part, but I tend to think that these little stories tucked within the larger plot lines of our Biblical heroes are often the ordinary people. People who tried to live their lives to the best of their ability for HaShem. Righteous People They are often just men and women like you and me who worked hard, followed the rules (mostly), fell down and got back up, and raised their families to revere God above all things. Yet, even though they didn’t rank their own big portion of the Bible story, their faith life was so important that God made sure their name would be remembered forever. “…a shoot…from the stump of Jesse…”
There is something special about waiting and watching for that first ray of light to push through the outer rim of our darkness until it finally blazes into the Christ star on Christmas Eve. It is called hope. Advent is here. . Light the Hope candle in the wreath. 25 days and the Christ Star will blaze once more. I am thankful, waiting and hopeful once more.