Throughout history, God has brought judgement upon human empires and even His own people when arrogance and wickedness eventually take over. Scripture continually reveals how God brings the lofty and proud back down to being low and humble. He cuts down the towering empires with His almighty axe of judgement.
After the reign of King David (the son of Jesse), God brought judgement upon the faithless people of Israel reducing them down to a small remnant. Abraham's family tree was chopped down to the stump. God's covenant promise to bless the world seemed hopeless and forgotten. But in God's own mysterious way, He promised to one day spring to life an everlasting kingdom from the very stump that appeared to be dead.
From the stump of Jesse, God would one day spring up the shoot named Jesus. Out of the roots of Old Testament Israel would come the fruitful branches of Christ's Kingdom. In His own special way, God took the cut down tree of Israel and brought forth a crown of thorns and a wooden cross that would be used as the cornerstone for building God's church.
What are we to think of our King who did not come as a mighty oak but rather as a tender twig born of a vulnerable virgin?
The one true King of God's everlasting kingdom was conceived in the most inconceivable way and obtained His authority through an unexpected act of utter submission.
In the midst of a season that has become a big spectacle, it helps us to remember our Savior who came into this world so subtle and small.
The greatest gifts often come in unexpected ways and unassuming moments.
Christmas ought to remind us that our God transforms the world through the small, subtle and unexpected. May we slow down this season and seek the shoots of God's grace and His glory that springs forth from the unassuming stumps of our daily life. Stop and see the image of God in every cashier you come across this Christmas season. Bring the background music to the foreground of your heart and actually sing the songs written for our Savior. Discern the difference between buying a present and giving a gift and always choose the latter. And in the midst of a loud world begging you to love what it has to offer, listen to the whisper of our Lord who loved you enough to offer Himself.