This is the first week of Advent. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes. This week we consider the hope we have in Jesus.
I think ORANGE is my new favorite Christmas color, FLUORESCENT ORANGE to be specific. I may have a hard time finding orange wrapping paper, but if it can be found, that’s what will be around my gifts this year! Here is why:
I signed up to run the Christmas Town Dash with a friend this next weekend. It seemed like a good idea at the time…8K through beautiful Busch Gardens Williamsburg, holiday décor, cool t-shirt, free park passes and fun with my friend…then I remembered all the HILLS in the park. In a panic I decided I needed to find a good running path with hills for practice. The Noland Trail is a gorgeous, wooded trail and perfect for running hills…or if you are like me, for lumbering up and down hills.
It was a breathtaking day. The trees, and the forest floor, were filled with the colors of fall. Various shades of red, yellow and brown scattered around my feet as I ran the worn path. There was also an additional color at my feet…a bright, “see me now” orange paint coated every exposed root along the path! There were A LOT of exposed roots. We have had a ton of rain which caused an amazing array of tree roots to emerge throughout the trail. I soon discovered I was running with my head down more than up, careful to notice each painted root.
The success of my run depended on my ability to see each obstacle and make decisions on whether to go around or over each random protrusion. Those bright markings were my savior, I was grateful for every fluorescent orange root I passed!
I keep thinking about those orange roots. Someone had gone before me and marked those roots. Someone anticipated my risk of falling and tried prepare a better way for me. Someone who did not even know me, knew my nature, the nature of most of us, to not look down, to trip, to fall.
These last few months I have been keenly aware of my tendency to “fall” in life. I have been humbled by my failures. Discouragement and depression have sought, and found, a place in my heart at times. The struggle to choose wisely is real. I am not without sin. In this life, I have been tripped up by all sorts of life events and challenges…but I know Who picks me up after EVERY fall, it’s the God Who also marked a path for me, planned my steps, and in anticipation of my nature to fall prepared a way for forgiveness.
Jesus is sort of like my bright orange paint! Every root once hidden from my view, was brought to light that day with fluorescent orange paint…likewise, every dark place in my life is brought to light by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I LOVE that one of the names of Christ is “The Root of Jesse”, in reference to His descent from the line of King David. That’s MY SAVIOR>>>> a fluorescent ORANGE “Root of Jesse”…the one Who marks my way and brings light to darkened paths, the hope of my salvation!
“And again Isaiah says, ‘There shall come the root of Jesse, and He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles HOPE’ Now may the God of HOPE fill you all with joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:12&13