Dec 15, Monday

Monday, December 15 ✬ Oaks of Righteousness

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Prayers for candle-lighting

The true light, which enlightens everyone, is coming into the world.
[Light three candles]
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
my whole being shall exult in my God.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, is coming into the world.

Isaiah 61:3

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, to display his glory.

Interpretation

The image of Israel as a great oak belonging to God appears several times in Isaiah. As
the people are decimated by the larger empires around them, the oak is described as
being burnt until almost nothing remains of it. Even its stump is burnt repeatedly, until
it seems that it could never grow again. But in chapter 11, we read of the hope the
people have for another king like David:

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD (11:1-3).

The green shoot that is beginning to sprout from a burnt-out stump is one of the
traditional Advent symbols of hope. Christians see Jesus as the green shoot bringing life
and hope to God’s people. As followers of Jesus, we look to him as the one upon whom
the spirit of the LORD was pleased to rest. But again, as his followers, we also place our
own tentative feet into his footprints, following him as we steadily grow in wisdom and
understanding, in knowledge and righteousness.

For Reflection

Much of the Diocese of West Texas is covered with live oaks, some of them having
flourished here for centuries. In the recent drought, I was told by an arborist that the
live oaks use not only the water that they can derive from the soil via their roots; but
through their craggy bark they can actually make use of even a slight rain or mist,
soaking up the water of life from the least moisture.

They might be a model for us, as we seek to live as “oaks of righteousness.”The live oaks challenge us to find
nourishment for our faithfulness in everything that comes our way, however small. As
you go through the tasks of this day, pay attention to each thing that helps to nourish
you in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and righteousness.

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