If you look out your window chances are you will see a tree branch. If not, take a walk around the block… look up and somewhere you will catch sight of the trees reaching out into the sky. I like to look at the patterns of branches against the sky, and during winter the deciduous trees are outlined and their branch patterns are strongly evident.
A particular kind of Branch was spoken of when Isaiah prophesied a future time.
A shoot will come up from the stump of
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Branch spoken of was the Messiah, but when Jesus came He also called us “branches”. We are offshoots of Him.
Would you like to bear fruit? That is, would you like to fulfill your potential? Many of us try on our own to fulfill our creativity, our potential as humans, but we often end up as dead branches, not understanding the fact that we have to draw our lifeforce from a living root. In the winter, everything looks dead…. it all looks the same, bereft of leaves and no signs of fruit. But if connected to the roots, that appearance is deceiving, because all the way through winter the entire tree has strength to shoot forth with life and bear fruit once conditions are right.
That is what our connection to Christ is doing within us.
It doesn’t matter how we look or whether we are in a winter season of life, the roots we draw from (if they are the Promise of God) are preparing us for the fruitful season.
As we look at the branch structure of a tree, next time, let’s think of that. Let’s have hope in this Advent season, of what God has for us… just as He brought forth the Branch of Jesse, He will also bring us forth from this Branch into life and hope.It is time to cast off the dead wood of false image and dead works that are only rooted in our own selfish concerns. Make room for the new goals of life that are revealed through Christ:
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned
Color a clipart Tree.
There is a pattern and timing to root growth. The roots grow when the shoots are not growing. Competition with other parts of the plant is the main determining factor to root growth. In fall, after harvest, sugars made in the leaves was transferred to the shoots, trunk and roots for storage and use during the next growing season. A large portion of these storage compounds are stored in the roots. The roots use this abundance of energy for growth and root growth is active in the late summer and fall. Root growth begins to taper off as the soil cools in the fall, but the roots are always capable of growth. As the soil becomes cold in the winter, root growth ceases. This is not because the roots are dormant as the buds are in the top of the tree, but because the soil is too cool to support growth. The crown of the tree, where the root system joins the trunk of the tree is the transition zone between the dormant top and the active roots. This transition zone, which often contains a graft union, is very susceptible to winter cold injury. Conditions that favor late root growth can predispose your plants to cold injury in the winter, particularly if the ground is not covered by snow.
Root growth increases in the Spring. This is not because the roots have become active but because the soil is now warm enough to support faster growth. Root growth increases as the soil warms. Rapid root growth continues through bud break and only begins to slow as the shoots begin their growth. During the period of rapid shoot growth in the early spring new root growth virtually stops and all the trees’ reserves are used in above ground growth. When shoot growth ceases in early summer, root growth begins again. The rate of root growth increases through the summer reaching a peak in early fall and then declines as the soil cools. So, two of the main restraints on root growth are soil temperature and competition with shoots and fruit. ~Roots: The Unseen Half of Growth
If you have a Jesse tree perhaps it is made from the branch of a tree. Today you can hang the ornament which is a small bundle of twigs, to remember Isaac who carried the bundle of wood for his father Abraham’s sacrifice. Gen. 22:1-14
Sing “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” as the carol for today.