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Contemplating the stump of Jesse, an Advent tradition


Jesse was out in the barn checking on the draft animals when the king’s messenger arrived. He announced that King Saul wanted Jesse’s son David to come and play the harp for him. David had certainly become very popular, Jesse thought to himself.

Just a short time earlier the prophet Samuel had appeared in Bethlehem seeking to anoint one of Jesse’s sons for special service to God. Samuel had been somewhat vague as to what that special service might entail, but Jesse happily and proudly presented his sons to the prophet. To everyone’s surprise, Samuel identified David as the one chosen by God and anointed him right on the spot. Samuel explained that David’s services would not be needed right away and that he would be in touch. Then he left.

Now the king was summoning David to play the harp. Surely this was not the special service that Samuel had in mind. A person did not need to be anointed to play the harp! Jesse had more questions than answers. Why did King Saul need a harp player? And how did the king decide that David was the right man for the job? Jesse could not help but think that, with all these distractions, David would lose track of the sheep he was tending and all the animals would wander away.

Jesse summoned his young son and informed him of his new musical engagement. As David was getting cleaned up, Jesse prepared gifts to present to the king: loaves of bread, a skin of wine, and a lively little goat. As he entrusted his son and the gifts to the care of the royal messenger, Jesse wondered what God might have planned next.

Read more at Aleteia.

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