First day of the advent calendar. First chocolate. For the first time in a long time, my mum didn't buy me one. I think you know you've grown up when you have to buy your own advent calendar.
It can feel like ages 'til Christmas on the 1st December. There's still so much to be done, assignments to finish, exams to sit, things to revise for and lectures to go to. It can feel like such a long time to wait. And sometimes when we actually get to Christmas day, it's not what we're quite expecting. Maybe it's a new way of doing Christmas, maybe a brother or a sister isn't around for the first time. Or there is an argument. Or you dont have turkey and everything is different.
Reading this passage the writer of Isaiah is in a very similar situation. He's going to be waiting for a long time, and what he's waiting for is not going to be quite what he was expecting. Isaiah 11 was written 800 years before the Messiah was born, and yet there is a clear idea of what He would be like.
- He would be a stump of Jesse. Jesse was King David's father. Elsewhere in scripture Jesus is foretold that he would be a son of David's. And Joseph, Jesus' earthly dad was of the line of David. But it would take 800 years and many many generations to see this happen. But God was faithful all throughout that time. He was talking to His people, guarding them, guiding them, redeeming them when they were stupid and loving them all the time.
- Things weren't as they were expected. In the later stages of Isaiah 11 there appears to be a lot of smashing and fighting. And this is what 800 years after Isaiah was written the people expected, a warrior king, triumphant in battle and mighty in strength. But that's not the picture that Isaiah 11 actually paints. In the middle section there appears to be peace and an outrageous peace at that. The calf and the lion, the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the goat all hanging out together. It seems that warring factions and natural enemies would be brought together. This coming Messiah, this shoot from Jesse would be different. He would bring peace. A peace that subdues some and lifts up others. A peace that passes all understanding. The Messiah would come and do #unexpected things.
So today, be watching and waiting for this long awaited Messiah. Be expecting Him to do unexpected things in your life. Be on the lookout for where he is moving, for His signs of peace.