Written on December 1, 2014. By Shari Norvell
As we decorated (well before thanksgiving, shhhh, don’t tell!) for the upcoming time of delight, the word home began to unfold and grow within me. hoME! The standard definition of home is “the place where one lives”. Oh, but that is not our standard meaning. The hebrew word for home is ‘bayit’ and means ‘house’. When transliterated to ’bet’, it means ‘house of’. The letter Bet can serve as a prefix that means ‘within’.
The pictograph of Bet describes the ‘mark of creation’ and tells the story that creation is a home built by the Creator! The home is a sign that the Heavens declare the glory of God and reveal His handiwork, masterpiece or poem (Psalm 19:1).
There are two other meanings from the hebrew root word of home that decorate my heart. ‘Teshuvah’ means to return to the place you belong. Amazingly, this is the hebrew word for repent! And ‘bayt’ which is the word for the chuppah (wedding tent) and means “the place where you meet your beloved’.
I stood for a moment, rapt in AWE. I was not standing in a house. I was dwelling in a home, a home “of” a much bigger house. A place not meant to be simply inviting, but to invite people to return to the place they belong. Surrounding me was a stanza ‘within’ a lovely, glorious poem. And I realized it was going to take more than a trip to Hobby Lobby to display it.
Then Pappa spoke. He said, “It is what you do within the within that displays the glory of the story. Gently I touched our most treasured “decorations, ” our Jesse Tree and our Menorah. The beauty of them is not in their design, though they are lovely, but in their simplicity. For among us, they reveal what is in us, what we are of. They retell the story while we share how the story has grown, becoming bigger and larger, so one day, all will see!
In the midst of the moments recounted above, Pappa invited me to open our door and invite you in to share as He retells OUR story and we discover how much more it means this year then it ever has before. We begin with the Jesse Tree.
The most basic description of the Jesse Tree is an advent calendar, though it doesn’t really countdown to a day as much as it adds up to the story we celebrate or reminds us of the joy of our story. The Jesse Tree is our family tree. It is a map that leads us from “In the beginning” to a coming destination that looks much like destiny. A place not yet reached, but which we sojourn towards.
Day 1 – December 1
Isaiah 11:1-2, 10 is a heart portion of our story, for it does what so much of the book of Isaiah does. It begins, reveals, invites and cheers us on to the destiny destination we were made for.
“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot, yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of understanding and the Awe of the Lord…
In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where He dwells will be a glorious place.”
I am overcome. The land where He dwells will be a glorious place. How easy it would be to look at the world around us and see it as less than glorious. Yet. Oh there is always a promise laden yet with Pappa. Yet, there is hope. Though it looks like the tree has been felled, there is a yet a root. In our day, in Jesse’s day.
Even as Isaiah prophesied, the tree had fallen at the hands of a people who forgot. A people with hearts asleep, turned from their God in slumber. Yet. Isaiah spoke of a resurrection. One that would begin with a seed, with a life. A life that would cause people to reach out, like a mighty branch from a resurgent tree. For the tiny, fragile branch would restore the tree long cut down, yet still full of life. For a seed doesn’t forget. Though the enemy is ever after the seed, he can never take what is in it. It lays still beneath, until the moment when it begins to pulsate, to remember, to reach for all it was created for.
This part of our story takes me to moments I have the honor to dwell in, when delivering babies. With expectancy, we await the first breath, breathless ourselves. It comes. And then the most amazing thing happens every single time. The burst forth seed stretches an arm forth, reaching, reaching. Reaching for what? There is nothing we can see before us in that room, that place. But the babe can just as the root did. Every reaching for the fulness of the promise. The destination of the destiny. Stretching ahead, so a people will follow. So a people will take what always has been into what was always meant to be. So where He dwells, within, will be a glorious place.