Rev Melissa Fain
A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.
Isaiah 11:1 CEB
It was the most depressing car ride of my whole life. We were leaving a previous church call, and headed for family in Georgia. My side of the family was only going to be in the state for a month before they were moving away. My husband’s side of the family was dealing with illness. Two family members had been diagnosed with cancer. One would eventually pass away. There was something bleak about the car ride, but looking back, we all needed to get back to our roots: our family.
Both Matthew and Luke mention Nazareth. Both versions find Jesus’ family there as displaced or hiding. In Hebrew, Nazareth means ‘branch’: “A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.” The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem must have been difficult for Mary. She was put in a situation where she had to travel. She was very pregnant. It must have been uncomfortable, painful, exhausting. Back home, there were possibly perceptions made when she mysteriously became pregnant. What was she going to do? Would she ever be invited back? I can imagine it was not mentally an uplifting journey. Yet, because of the situation they were in, they needed to return to their roots. Sometimes, when things appear bleak, we just need family.
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Holy and loving God,
Help me find my roots. Help me find the face of Jesus in family this holiday season.