On the approach to Christmas, we hope that you enjoy this reflection, written by CAFOD Salford volunteer, Joy Wanless.
Isaiah 11:1 “Out of the stump of Jesse’s tree will grow a shoot.”
Have you noticed orchid plants in the shops this Christmastime? They are everywhere. My orchid plant had lost its blooms, looked like it was dying. I’ve been watching my orchid plants sitting on the windowsill, just sitting, patiently. I’ve danced them round the kitchen, singing to them trying to encourage them to grow again, letting them know they are loved. Finally, finally, in God’s good time, there are new buds growing from what looked dead, bringing new life. I call my friend who bought the plant for my Mum who died 2 and half years ago to tell her the good news, “wow” she says, “amazing, life lives on”. We rejoice in the memories of our missed parents.
Sounds familiar? What looked like dead is now alive. New shoots from old. Jesse’s family tree seemed dead, chopped down, no new life and then there’s God. Not only new life but the beginnings of THE new life, JESUS as the family tree grows again, new offspring, bringing new life to all. We are sad, we rejoice.
What does that life look like as we look around us today?
Sad: Homeless on our streets
Foodbanks springing up to help those who can’t cope. We rejoice.
Sad: Refugees in trouble,
Refugee action groups growing to help. We rejoice.
Sad: Scandals in public life.
Agencies acting to change legislation, protect the vulnerable. We rejoice.
Yes, often where there’s tragedy there’s a charitable response. People care.
Isaiah 61:1 “The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to set the captives free…” and again in Luke 4:18. The same words followed by, “and today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”. Jesus is with us, He has come. Out of the stump of the Jesse tree a new shoot of love and mercy has blossomed. As we follow the CAFOD Advent calendar we see the hope alive that is the fruit of our work as CAFOD volunteers and supporters; the hope which all those who suffer tremendous hardships manage to hold on to. The arm of God reaches out to them through others and shoots of love and mercy blossom.
As we approach Christmas let’s revisit the words of Isaiah and of Jesus. Let’s read the CAFOD Advent calendar and rejoice in the fruits of our work. Let’s look around us and see all the hope, rejoicing in our good God. We were made out of love to be love and to share that love.
Dear Lord, we pray that this Christmas season we will open our eyes and our hearts to your love and be ready and willing to live that love, blossoming as shoots of love and mercy, shining your light in the darkness. Amen
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