On this 6th day of Advent the #AdventWord2018 word is 'sprout'.

I don't know about you, but 'sprout' makes me think about the sprouts that are a traditional vegetable at Christmas dinners in the UK. Sprouts are hated by some. I like them, especially when raw or nearly raw.

Sprouts grow and reach their best at the coldest time of year and are best harvested after the first winter frosts. They provide a fresh green vegetable that can be grown without artificial heat and do not need to be imported into the UK. They sprout from hard stems in the cold winter. As such they could be seen as a sign of fresh new life.

The image I've chosen to place at the head of this post is not the vegetable, as I hope you realise. The image is of a green plant sprouting in an unlikely place, shooting up through the hardness of asphalt. As I look at this image of new life, it reminds me of a reading from the Hebrew Bible that is often read at Advent and Christmas carol services. In these words, Christians see a picture of Jesus:
"A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,and a branch shall grow out of his roots.The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,the spirit of wisdom and understanding,the spirit of counsel and might,the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord."
Isaiah 11: 1 - 3 (NRSV)

If you are puzzled about what something sprouting form the stump (or root) of Jesse is about, then take a look at one of my previous Advent posts 'O root of Jesse: come and deliver us'. In that post I quoted these words:
"Advent is the time and place to begin to cultivate that attentiveness to the shoot called hope. It is the time to foster our hope and our faith that God will come among His people. He will come in the form of a fragile shoot, but with roots strong and deep enough to deal with the trauma of the world on which He has come to pour balm – the astringent balm of the life, death and resurrection of his Son Jesus." Jane Livesey CJ

What signs of hope do you see that sprout today?

Image Credit: Pixabay, CCO License