Christmas and The Family Tree
Think about gardens and sprouts. Think especially of shrubbery. Gardeners know that sometimes a root decides to grow a sprout. Roses are especially good at that. You have been mowing and cultivating that spot around the roses for years and one day there is a sprout. Sprouts are beautiful. They tug at your heart, somehow. It seems like overnight you have this little baby plant with freshly unfurled leaves right there three feet away from the mother plant but a perfect little replica nonetheless. The Hebrew word branch in Isaiah’s prophecy means a green shoot or a sprout.
Maybe the gardeners in Jesus’ day were not nearly as mystified with His ministry and presence as the rest of the family seemed to be. A gardener with any experience at all who had been reading the scriptures probably had a pretty good idea who this young “upstart” was.
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: Isaiah 11:1,
And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name [is] The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. Zechariah 6:12,13.
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: Isaiah 53:2a Isaiah meant here that He would bear fruit. Then Jesus grew up and explained to the disciples that He was the vine and we are the branches. He said that we would bear fruit when we abide in Him.
Finally, the apostle Paul said that we heathen Gentiles are grafted in if we believe and accept this whole business of a little sprout of David/Jesse. Now that is a subject for the apple man. We visited him one day and he told us how grafting is done. You have to have a root to get grafting accomplishe d even today in the apple tree world. The same thing happens in The Family Tree. That Root is the only reason we can be grafted in.
After I had written this I thought of the old German carol. It says what I am thinking perfectly. Again, notice the message of salvation.
Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming
verses 1-2, 15th Century carol (Es ist ein Ros entsprungen)
translated from German to English by Theodore Baker, 1894
verses 3-4, Friedrich Layritz, translated by Harriet Reynolds Krauth, 1875
verse 5, translated or written by John C. Mattes, 1914
Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as those of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
Isaiah 'twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
When half spent was the night.
The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger they found Him,
As angel heralds said.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.
O Savior, Child of Mary, Who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, Who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of heaven,
And to the endless day!