Saturday, December 19, 2015

O Rex Jesse

O Root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign before the people, before whom kings are mute and to whom the gentiles shall seek: Come quickly to deliver us.

It was some years ago, on one of his visits to my home that my father walked in the door and in his usual gruff way said, "Here, the creek gave her to me. You can have her." And abruptly he handed me a small sapling he brought from the home where I grew up in Pennsylvania. Since then it has grown into a flourishing dogwood that graces our backyard with flowers in the spring and orangey fall color.

I am not alone as a recipient of my father's trees. My sister has a cherry tree that yields enough for pies and jam every year and another sister has grape vines that yield an abundance of fruit. My father's gait is now slow and unsteady which prevents him from walking along that creek among his beloved trees and the quality of his memory matches the morning fog that often collects in the valley.  But my father's life and lineage is deeply rooted in our home - exhibited in my children and memorialized in that gifted tree I see outside my window.

Today's O Antiphon reminds us that the lineage of Jesus comes from the root of Jesse. I wonder what characteristics he inherited. What gestures? How about his eyes, his hair color and his manner of speaking?  But even more so, God created all of us in God's image.  So what has God passed on to you?  What traits?  What characteristics? Do you spend more time making God to be in your image, versus recognizing the God who has crafted you, planted you, nurtured you and loves you?

The orange leaves have fallen off the dogwood in my backyard but its deep roots will nurture it through the winter. Where are your roots firmly planted?

 O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

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