Preparation: have a stump or a picture of a stump with a shoot coming out of it. Or a picture of a sidewalk with a shoot or sprig of something poking through.
Gather the children. “We are in our second week of Advent. Does anyone remember what advent is?” (take brief answers) “Yes, Advent is when we are watching and waiting for the birth of Jesus. It’s the time we remember that God comes to us even in the darkness.”
Show them your stump or picture. “What is this here? Yes a stump. What is a stump?” (take answers) “Yep, a stump is what is left of a tree that is cut down, would you think a stump looks alive or dead?” (take answers) “A stump has been cut down and doesn’t look very alive. But look closer, do you see this shoot coming out of the stump? It’s like this little miracle that something new can grow out of something that was totally cut down.”
**you can also add a picture of a shoot coming up from a sidewalk and have them notice how the plant has to push through any crack in the thick, hard concrete to make it through and it still is able to be push it’s way out!***
We heard from Isaiah today and he is talking to people who have lost a lot. They feel pretty cut down and lifeless, kind of like a stump. They might even be afraid of what is happening in their lives. But Isaiah is also telling them that there is hope. He says from the stump of Jesse a root will spring forth. This means that even though right then the people did not have a king who was from God and they were captive to other people that God was still with them and that God promised to continue to be with them and one day send a messiah that might not look like a king but that would be a light and gift for the world. That is part of our watching and waiting because we know that even when we feel scared or cut off or sad or lonely that Jesus is with us and that we can have hope in God’s promise. Just like that miracle of a shoot of a plant that comes out of a dead stump or pushes through the sidewalk, God’s love and peace are with us even when it’s hard to see.