Snow’s coming down here now like confetti for a party that a hard year’s cancelled, but the orchard just keeps on welcoming all the big white flakes coming down.
That’s what Advent means — “coming.”
Advent whispers, “Hope is coming to crush all the hard incoming.”
Kai’s shaking trees like a big kid at the party, and grinning that there are apples still hanging on the trees in the orchard in the middle of all our snow globe world shaking with all kinds of hard news.
Kai’s got the trees feting him now and the girls are feeding the sheep and the dog’s romping like some circus act under the shaking branches –and if snow falls off trees in the orchard does anybody hear the sound of wonders coming?
And I’m standing out in the winter quiet of all these orchard trees and the snow’s coming straight down and all this feels like relief:
If you don’t come to Christmas through Christ’s family tree and you come into the Christmas story just at the Christmas tree — it’s hard then to understand the hope of His coming.
It happens for a reason when you open the pages of Scripture to read of His coming, of this first Advent: Before you ever read of the birth of Jesus — you always have the family tree genealogy of Jesus.
Because without the genealogy of Christ,
the limbs of His past,
the branches of His family,
the love story of His heart that has been coming for you since before the beginning –
how does Christmas and its tree stand?
Its roots would be sheared.
The arresting pause of the miracle would be lost.
Because in the time of prophets and kings,
the time of Mary and Joseph,
it wasn’t your line of credit,
line of work,
or line of accomplishments
that explained who you were.
It was your family line. It was your family tree. It was family that mattered.
Family gives you context,
and origin gives you understanding,
and the family tree of Christ always gives you hope.
The coming of Christ was right through families of messed-up monarchs
and battling brothers,
through affairs and adultery
and more than a feud or two,
through skeletons in closets
and cheaters at tables.
It was in that time of prophets and kings, the time of Mary and Joseph, that men were in genealogies, and women were invisible.
But for Jesus,
women had names
The family tree of Christ startlingly notes
not one woman but four.
The Four: Tamar, Rahab, Bathsheba, and Ruth.
Four broken women—
women who felt like outsiders,
Women who were weary
of being taken advantage of,
of being unnoticed
women who didn’t fit in,
who didn’t know how to keep going,
what to believe,
where to go—
women who had thought about giving up.
And Jesus claims exactly these who are
and worn out as
Then He turns to you, right where you are — and:
He grafts you into His line
and His story
and His heart,
and He gives you
He graces you with plain grace.
Christ comes right to your Christmas tree
and looks at your family tree and says,
“I am your God,
and I am one of you,
and I’ll be the Gift,
and I’ll take you.
This, this, is the love story that’s been coming for you since the beginning.
So there’s this pause and investing in what matters.
There is a Stilling.
Each day of Advent, in the middle of the hard, He gives the gift of time — so we have time to be still and wait.
Wait for the coming of the God in the manger who makes Himself bread for us near starved.
Wait for the coming Savior in swaddlings who makes Himself the robe of righteousness for us worn out.
Wait for the hope of our coming Jesus, who makes precisely what none of us can, but all of us want: Christmas.
There, here, in the midst of the loud claims,
the hard sells,
the big spectacles,
Christ comes small,
who comes in the whisper and says,
“Seek Me. Take Me.
I take you… I still take you.”
When Kai turns with Shalom to run in from the orchard with the sheep, you can see it — hear it.
The apple trees hanging out in the orchard — they look ornaments hanging waiting, even in these hard moments, at the end of a very long hard year, like the decking has begun.
And when snow falls off a tree in the orchard and you are there to hear it — maybe it makes the sound of certain hope?
Advent, it is made of these moments of waiting through the hard, faces turned upward to all this hope from the heavens, falling around us like manna.
3 Award-Winning books for the Whole Family
- The Greatest Gift (adult edition): Christian Retailing’s Best award, 2014
- Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (Family Edition): Best Inspirational Book of the Year, CBA, 2016
- The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: Best Devotional & Gift Book of the Year, CBA, 2019, (pop-up edition with your own 14 inch tree, 25 days of readings, 25 day advent flap calendar, hiding all 25 Biblically inspired ornaments! For any age)
Especially in the hard & the hurting, we can have The Greatest little Christmas