Monday, December 11, 2017:
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. Isaiah 11: 1
This time of year often brings drab views of the countryside. Absent are the hanging baskets of blooms that adorned porches, yards and sidewalks. Gone are the vibrant golds, reds and oranges of the leaves that so gloriously adorned the fall landscape. After getting this scripture passage to contemplate, I drove along the PA Turnpike and interstate to a funeral. At first I thought of how depressing everything looked as the colors grew farther apart. Occasionally a house here and there stood out. The pavement was monochromatic. Only the evergreens were still green. Even the fields that had been filled with corn, hay, soybeans, and lush ground a few weeks ago stood barren where the harvest had been made.
Then some clouds separated to bring back colors; I looked up and saw bright sun, blue sky. I was reminded of how, even in the dark, the sunrise and -set often bring us spectacular and glorious palettes of colors that painters have tried to reproduce. If we focus on the lack of the summer colors, we miss the beauty in a resting world, a world that prepares for next growing season. At the end of each night comes the hope of a beautiful sunrise and a new day.
Our faith is often like that, too. We travel in monochromatic paths for a while. Then something wonderful and hopeful meets us where we are. Perhaps it’s a message from a distant friend or family member, an unexpected promotion or recognition, recovery from an illness. Hold onto those glimpses of sun, the possibilities of a new beginning in the morning, reminders that God has, does, and will provide for us.
The Old Testament prophets came close enough to God to hear what God had to say to them. They listened, they spoke, they hoped, they prayed. This passage from Isaiah spoke of someone yet to come. It gave hope to those who read it. A new king, Jesus, is coming. He may arrive in rather drab surroundings but will provide what we need all the days of our lives.
Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for adding the colors to our lives, in the people we love and meet, in opportunities to minister to others, in times of creativity. Remind us that even in the dark, you are with us and will bring us to a new day. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Creative Call-to-Action: Sit quietly for a few minutes. Make a list of all the colors around you.
—Diane Olin White