In those days, and in that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up into David …

Jer 33:15

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This passage from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah comes from the first reading on the first Sunday of Advent.

David.  A new branch shall grow.  New growth on an ancient tree.  Such new growth is always tender and fresh, as all new growth in our garden and in nature.

Is Advent not a time for new and tender growth?  Growth in the heart?  Growth of the heart? Growth in our heart?  And does this not bring to mind a “crèche?” Yes, the crèche where Christ was born, born as a small child – so of tender heart and wonder as all small children.  A crèche – a foundling where small children are cared for.  Why but for us a crèche?

Tender hearts and children.  The hearts of children.  Children at Christmas. Christ as child, the Holy Child.

Is this not the Advent message for us?  Is this not our starting point?

Why else are our children at the center of this season?  Placed in the season’s excitement so we may see the joy, spontaneity and wonder of their tender hearts? 

Ah, but what of us?

Is this not a time for our heart to be so tenderly engaged?  Indeed, can we receive the Christ Child but with a tender, child’s heart – in the expectation of wonders to come?

Dear God, awaken in us the child’s tender heart and all its wonder.