On the hill in the dim dawn, wind whips round us, wild, portending coming chill. Things once vibrant rattle in pale grays, charred blacks, rusted browns — shades of death emphasized by remnant green of grass.

Raspberries have gone russet.

Strawberry bed’s become a grave.

And trees! The heart nut with its rings of bird-pecked holes, the apple trunk all punky-dry and crumbling, the plum… plum dead! — cracked and fallen. Lifeless wood feeding fungus.

A stump.

Not long ago a hopeless sight. No prospect of life or fruit here, we’d say.

And then…

A shoot.

A shoot that grew…

became a tree, and put forth blossoms, even fruit already this past spring.

And the peach! Its dead stump we can no longer find! Rotted away! And yet, behold the tree.

Behold its budding growth!

Behold its springtime fruit!

Like the stump of Jesse.

Like the sprout of promise, hope, life redeemed and resurrected…

…”There is a son born…” And they called his name Obed. He [is] the father of Jesse, the father of David (Rth 4:17).

Now the LORD said to Samuel, “…go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons …invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.” So Samuel did what the LORD said, and went to Bethlehem…. Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. So it was, when they came, that …  Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these... Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him… So he sent and brought {David} in… And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this [is] the one!” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward (1 Sa 16:1-13) … Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel (1Ch 29:26).

Despite the “cutting off” of the (royal, trunk) line of Jeconiah/Coniah, David’s descendant…

“[As] I live,” says the LORD, “though Coniah … king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life… So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country … But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return… this man Coniah a despised, broken idol–A vessel cast out, he and his descendants…

O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man [who] shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah (Jer 22:24-28)…

Still, by God’s good grace…

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots… And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious (Isa 11:1,10 ESV).

And again, Isaiah says: “There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope” (Rom 15:12).


Seeking the Christ Child (in the Old Testament)

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I am searching for prophecies and foreshadowings of the Christ child, book by book. I plan to post (nearly) every weekday (leaving myself some margin) a short peek at some hint or promise of the coming baby who would make all the difference. Like the wise men, I’ll be Seeking the Christ Child, but in Old Testament promises and foreshadowings, and sharing what I find. I hope you’ll join me, because if it turns out as rewarding as the past spring’s pre-Easter explorations, this focus could make this one of the richest, most blessed Christmas seasons yet.

Previous posts:

(1) – A Baby Gave Her Hope

(2) – A Baby Gave Him Comfort

(3) – A Baby Made Her Laugh

(4) – Wrestling Babies Lead to Christ? 

(5) – Hope Hanging by a Slender Thread

(6) Power in Small Things, and Fear of Babies

(7) Heart-felt Reflections on Foreshadowings so far

(8) Musings about Midwives

(9) Two Widows and a Prostitute

(10) Two Poetesses (Their Babies Made them Sing)

(11) Tangled Strands and Broken

(12) Son of Whom? 

(13) Broken Weavings, Strands, and Stumps


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19 thoughts on “Seeking the Christ Child (14) – Stumped!

  1. Sorry, my comment isn’t about the Christ Child, I hope you don’t mind, it’s about the strawberries…

    Why the mesh? I have a patch of wild strawberries in my garden and I am still learning how to treat them and keep them. Just saw the mesh over yours and am curious what it is for.

    1. That’s okay. 🙂
      I’ll ask my husband, who’s the one that did it. I’m guessing it’s probably there for no more significant reason than keeping the mulch from blowing away or keeping the cats from using it for a litter box! Will find out and comment again later.

    2. Hi again Tricia,
      Yes, I guessed right. Husband just put the wire atop the strawberry beds to keep the mulch from blowing away and the uncovered plants from heaving out of the ground in the cold as a result. I think it’s a really great idea, your cultivating a patch of wild strawberries. They are small but oh, so delicious! And finding them at the right point of ripening when they’re growing wild is a challenge and a job to harvest. God bless your project. I’d love to know how it works out.

  2. It amazes me how the process happens…in the different seasons things look dead, horrible and then spring…and summer and it’s this ongoing process..year after year…like our lives….your pics were perfect for this message.

    1. Nikki (Sarah),
      I am so thrilled to have you stopping by here, reading, and leaving this comment — especially after reading your latest blog post (“Did You Know?”)! What a beautiful and amazing testimony of the truth and power of the Messiah, of His Spirit’s intervention in our lives! I don’t think it’s hokey at all! I shared it with my husband and he wants a printout of it to read excerpts this week at a prison where he leads a Bible study. They’re scheduled to watch a movie depicting several testimonies of men of a different religion in countries where gospel sharing is restricted — all of whom came to know and receive salvation from the Savior b/c of His appearing or speaking to them in dreams. How fitting and timely! (I love how God does this kind of thing!) Thank you for commenting here, and for sharing your own wonderful and amazing story on your own blog post! Now I want to get your book!
      (I can’t comment on your blog b/c Blogger doesn’t enable it for WordPress web-hosted sites, so I’m commenting here. (Some Blogger bloggers have gotten Disqus and solved the problem that way))
      Thanks again, and may God bless you and yours with an especially beautiful Christmas, and Chanukah, this year!

  3. funny, Sylvia, I felt kind of stump-ish this last week or two – it’s been a horrid experience, full of doubt, and questioning, and too much worry for someone who says they believe. I want to let you know that your words were important, thank you. And I thought, as I felt stump-ish, I thought of new growth springing out from the stump – and now I’ve read about it here. I heart how God works. And I think to the father, how humans can cut the tree way down low, and think it’s dead, but somehow you will bring growth out of the side of the stump, and life will continue, or the stump becomes a source of life for others, and life just continues. And in my own life, as I have been cut low to the ground this last week or two, I have known through it all that you will bring new growth out of it. Cutting, pruning, being leveled, it’s never easy is it? But with you when it I know the pain is never wasted. Sylvia, thank you for inspiring that little chat with God, in your comment section. And I am reducing the number of posts on my blogs from 10 per week to eight per week – I’m hoping I’ll get more time now to read blogs that I heart, from good sisters like you. I should be here more often, I’m sorry I haven’t read you more, there are only so many hours, and now I’m trying to make more. So thank you Sylvia, and God bless you, and Merry Christmas.

    PS and I think you know how much I heart your biblical study here, how the tree of Jesse became the stump, and out of debt stump came our Lord.

    1. You know, Craig, I just made a similar decision about not committing myself to as many blog postings to free up more time to read and comment on the good posts others have put out there. It’s a rich experience, this sharing. I’m sorry you had such a painful experience in the midst of all that good, but that does happen a lot in our world, and I too find that the best and most beautiful growth in my life has come from the hacked off stumps! I look back and see that I’ve posted a lot about prunings, weedings, and such — and now about hacking off to a mere stump of former things.
      It almost makes me want to say, “Hack away!” But not quite!!! I know the pain of the pruning. Never wasted, never. And, I guess, necessary. But I’d still like it better if I could grow strong and fruitful without the prunings, and especially, without the chopping down to near nothing. I’d still rather have the impossibility of perfection without pain, but I know it doesn’t work that way, even in gardens and trees. So I thank the Great Gardener of our souls, “anyways.” And today I thank Him for your visit and your good comments. God bless and guide and strengthen and prosper you!

    1. Thank you, Shanda. Husband’s good suggestion set me to doing this. Happy to see you stopping by!

  4. Hi Sylvia – wow, great post. I love the telling of the story with such awesome photos. I think you would have no problem with 5 minute friday! The fun is in the scary stuff sometimes. Look forward to reading your next post
    God bless

    1. Thank you, Tracy, for your kind encouragement. I know what you mean by the fun being in the scariness. Doing this series of posts was a sticking out of my neck — something I certainly didn’t have mapped out in my mind ahead of time. Maybe I’ll try our the five-minute adventure this Friday! (I can always not post it — and all I’ll have lost is five minutes!) Glad you came over here to visit. God’s blessings to you, too.

  5. Sylvia:

    Thank you so much for visiting me. I enjoyed reading this post. I had planned to do a series of posts this month regarding the prophecies about Christ, but ended up writing about the five women named in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ genealogy (with a few other posts thrown in.)

    Many blessings!

    1. And thank you much, Joan, for visiting me. So we have been right on the same page, because I ended up writing about those same women, too — although I’m sure from a different angle. It would be interesting to see what insights you would have shown about the same women and prophecies. I am always enriched by the different facets of scriptures or situations that others note and I have missed. Blessings to you through this special week!

    1. Thanks, kd. The tree shape was a happy accident at first. By now I feel I ought to maintain the tree shape — but the titles coming into my mind are mostly mid-sized. So… well, maybe I’ll try for one-word titles anyhow. (chuckle) happy that you stopped by.

  6. I so love how you led up with your pictures of dead life, stumps – and then shoots that grow tall and strong – and then you explain the story of Jesse that way. This was a beautiful history lesson am so glad to have read – and read today!

    1. Thank you, Maryleigh, for your kind encouragement. So glad you stopped by to visit.

  7. This makes me think of the passage in John about abiding in the vine. It may not be what you intended, but thank you for this reminder. 🙂

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Same principle. Thanks for visiting, and commenting. And God bless your Christmas!

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