Advent is my favorite time of the year, in large part because in church communities we read through sections of the prophets, in particular Isaiah. I find it to be a deep spiritual time for me, a renewing of hope, an articulation of what the world is meant to be(come) and be about. This year there have been numerous creative digital and electronic creations around Advent and Christmas.
Here's one I heard about through a French friend, a creative way to retell the prophetic poetry of Isaiah in and for our context today.
Is Jesus for real? Do we really want him in Christmas?
This is my new favorite Christmas song this year, "There's Still My Joy"[VIDEO] : [lyrics] by the Indigo Girls. I'm haunted by the repeated chorus line: "One tiny child can change the world. One shining light can show the way."
The Isaiah passages in the readings proposed for this Second Sunday in Advent grab me. Filled with word pictures, I find my mind's eye inundated with possibilities, stimuli and connections. The Stump of Jesse is contrasted with the wind of the Spirit. This stump, symbol of the ancient royal line of David (Jesse was his father) is stumped, dead, finished after the Babylonian and Assyrian invasions of the 6th and 8th centuries BCE. The once great line of wise God-fearing rulers is gone. But a new leader is coming, blown by the wind, filled with the spirit, called to be a great leader who will rule with justice in particular in regards to the meek and the poor as opposed to rule in a partisan way blowing with the winds of propaganda, gain and public-opinion. The stump is immobile, unwilling and unable to change, to adapt, to grow. The Spirit, or wind (in Hebrew and Greek it's the same word) is fluid, active, transformative, inviting, moving all those that it comes into contact with. And so this first half of this passage (1-5) is dominated with these two images: Stump & Wind.