Isaiah 11:1-10

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious. Isaiah 11:1-10

“What do you want for Christmas?” ‘Tis the season for such questions. I grew up in the days of ordering Christmas from a Sears catalogue. The wish list was often generated from hours of paging through the Wish Book. The whole process had to be done EARLY to make sure that things arrived in time. The agony of anticipation was prolonged.

Today we get irritated if our Amazon Prime order isn’t here by the day after tomorrow. Our expectations have changed.

For centuries, the people of Israel suffered through one calamity after another. God’s chosen people. That is so upside down compared to the ways of the world. We carry a sense that to be chosen, to be special, sets us up for a life where we always get to be the first hog at the trough. We always get the largest share of the cookie, and we believe we are justified in that. So knowing that the very people chosen to carry the promise were also targeted all along the way is hard for us to understand.

Just as hard to understand as the mindset, the steady faith, that someday God will make things right. Someday, God is going to show up and turn the world back around. Someday, the Great Day of the Lord will greet the dawn and those who deserve to get theirs will get theirs and all will be right with the world.

They looked at the Wish Book and chose “he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.”

But God’s ways are not our ways. “He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth…”

“What do you want for Christmas?” is a fine question. The gift game is a fun part of the Christmas season. But the real question and the better question will always be, “What does God want for Christmas?” – not just FOR us, but FROM us. The answer will always have something to do with peace, with justice, with righteousness, with equity, with enough.

The good thing is that God’s answer comes in “one size fits all” that actually fits.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, infuse these days of anticipation with a sense, not just of all the things that we have to do, but with reminders of what you are always doing among us. Align our wills with yours. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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