Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-7; 18-19
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12

Isaiah promises that a righteous branch shall grow out of the shoot of Jesse — a branch bringing justice and peace to all of creation. In Advent, Christians prepare to receive this branch in the birth of Jesus. Matthew warns that the peace promised by Isaiah will be accomplished by the destruction of the wicked. Indeed, the axe is already lying at the root of the tree. In the name of the one who baptizes us with fire and the Holy Spirit; it is time to lead lives worthy of repentance. Such living promises us hope for the future.