Friday, January 11, 2013

This year I began assembling materials for our family's Jesse Tree. Though I have heard about the Jesse Tree from friends and blogs for several years this is the first year I actually did some research and put together devotional readings and ornaments. We did the readings this year and enjoyed the focus for Advent, next year we can put the ornaments and tree to use. I realize it is now well past the Advent season, but perhaps you can save this idea and join us in actually implementing it next year.

The Jesse Tree illustrates Jesus as the center and fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. He is the "shoot from the stump of Jesse". The Jesse Tree represents Jesus' family tree, the line of Jesse, father of David. During Advent we prepare and wait for the celebration of Christmas, Christ's birth, just as the Israelites awaited their Redeemer. This devotional is a way to help us remember the preparation for the arrival of our Savior, and the joy of Christmas! It is a fun family tradition, adds depth to the Advent season, and the kids love hanging the ornaments.

There is a great deal of variability in Jesse Tree devotionals out there. Below I have included two options that appealed to me. We used one this year and may alternate with the other one next year, or something. It is a work in progress. I made ornaments for both since I wasn't sure which one we would decide to use.

I bought small wooden disks at Hobby Lobby, drilled little holes into each one, painted them all white, and then painted on the appropriate symbols using acrylic paint. It was actually a pretty fun little art project. At the end I tied some string onto each one so that it was ready to hang on the tree.

Our "tree" is a manzanita branch that I purchased from a site called "Blooms and Branches"  that sells them for wedding centerpieces. Next year I will set it up with a pretty vase filled with rocks or sand. 

Here are the ornaments, in order for the devotional that we used this year:

These are the ornaments and order for the alternate devotional option - given in italics for each day in the readings provided below:

Jesse Tree Devotional

Day One
Introduction of the Jesse Tree:
1 Samuel 16:1-13 – The anointing of David 
 Isaiah 11:1-10 – The branch from Jesse
Symbol: Stump with Branch

In the Beginning:
Genesis 1:1-3, 27, 31 
 John 1:1-5, 14 
Symbol: Earth

Day Two
The Creation:
Genesis 1:1-2:3
Symbol: Earth

The Fall:
Genesis 3:3-6, 9-11
 1 Corinthians 15:21-22
Symbol: Apple & Serpent

Day Three
Adam & Eve – The First  Sin and The Fall
Genesis 2:4 (or 2:15) – 3:24
Symbol: Apple & Serpent

Mary, Mother of All Living:
Genesis 3:14a, 15, 20
Luke 1:26, 28, 31, 38
Revelation 12:1-2, 17a
Symbol: Mother & Child
Day Four
Noah and the Flood:
Genesis 6:11-9:17
Symbol: Rainbow

Noah and the Ark:
Genesis 6:5-8
Genesis 7:15-18
Genesis 9:8, 15-16
 Symbol: Rainbow

Day Five
Abraham and the Promise:
Genesis 12:1-7 – The call of Abram
 Genesis 15:1-6 – The Lord's covenant with Abram
Symbol: Stars

Blessing to Abraham:
Genesis 12:1-3
Genesis 17:5
Hebrews 11:8, 12
Symbol: Camel

Day Six
The Offering of Isaac
Genesis 22:1-19
Symbol: Ram

Sacrifice of the Son:
Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13
Symbol: Ram

Day Seven
Jacob and Assurance of the Promise:
Genesis 27:41-28:22
Symbol: Jacob's Ladder

Joseph in Egypt:
Genesis 37: 3-5, 8a, 18-19, 23, 28
 Symbol: Coat of Many Colors

Day Eight
Joseph and God's Providence:
Genesis 37 – Joseph's dreams & Joseph sold by his brothers
Genesis 39:1-50:21 (or -42:5) – Joseph in Egypt
Symbol: Coat of Many Colors

Exodus 12:3, 5a, 6b-8, 11-13
Symbol: Lamb

Day Nine
Moses and God's Leadership:
Exodus 2:1-4:20
Symbol: Burning Bush

The Ten Commandments:
Exodus 20:1-4a, 7a, 8, 12-17
Symbol: Ten Commandments

Day Ten
Israelites, Passover and Exodus:
Exodus 12:1-14:31
Symbol: Lamb

The Promised Land:
Genesis 17:7-8
Numbers 13: 1-2a, 17-18a, 20, 23, 27
Symbol: Grapes

Day Eleven
God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai:
Exodus 19:1-20:20
Symbol: Ten Commandments

Bronze Serpent:
Numbers 21:4-9
John 3:13-16
Symbol: Serpent on Staff

Day Twelve
Joshua and the Fall of Jericho:
Joshua 1:1-11 – Joshua installed as leader
Joshua 6:1-20 – Jericho
Symbol: Ram's Horn with Music

Jonah 1:1-4:11
OR Jonah 1:15-17, 2:1-3, 2:7-10, 3:2-3, 5
Symbol: Whale

Day Thirteen
Gideon – Unlikely Heroes:
Judges 2:6-23 – Israelites disobedience and defeat after Joshua, the establishment of judges
Judges 6:1-6 – Israelites given over to Midianites
Judges 6:11-8:28 (or -7) – Gideon as Judge
Symbol: Clay Water Pitcher

Ruth & Boaz:
Ruth 2-4
OR Ruth 1:16, 2:2, 8, 10-12, 4:13-14
Symbol: Sheaf of Wheat

Day Fourteen
Samuel and the Beginning of the Kingdom:
1 Samuel 3:1-21 – The Lord calls Samuel
1 Samuel 7:1-8:22 – Samuel subdues Philistines at Mizpah, Israel asks for a king
1 Samuel 9:15-10:9 – Saul made king
Symbol: Crown

David & Goliath:
1 Samuel 16:1, 13a
1 Samuel 17:3-4, 8-9, 45, 47-49
Symbol: Slingshot

Day Fifteen
David – A shepherd for the People:
1 Samuel 16:1-23 – David anointed
1 Samuel 16:24-17:58 – David and Goliath
2 Samuel 5:1-5 – David becomes king
2 Samuel 7:1-17 – God's promise to David
Symbol: Shepherd's Staff

God's Forgotten Scroll is Found:
2 Kings 22:2
2 Kings 23:1-3
Symbol: Scroll

Day Sixteen
Elijah and the Threat of False gods:
1 Kings 17:1-16 – Elijah announces drought, fed by ravens, widow of Zarephath
1 Kings 18:17-46 – Elijah and prophets of Baal
Symbol: Stone Alter with Fire

Stump of Jesse:
Isaiah 11:1-5, 10
Acts 13:16, 22-23
Symbol: Stump with Branch

Day Seventeen
Hezekiah – Faithfulness and Deliverance:
2 Kings 18:1-19:19 – Hezekiah as king and battle with Assyria
2 Kings 19:32-37 – Outcome of fight with Assyria
Symbol: Empty Tent

The New Creation:
Isaiah 11:6-10
Symbol: Lion & Lamb

Day Eighteen
Isaiah and the Call to Holiness:
Isaiah 1:10-20 – call to holiness
Isaiah 6:1-13 – Isaiah's commission
Isaiah 8:11-9:7 – Light in the darkness
Symbol: Fire Tongs with Hot Coal

Prince of Peace:
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
Symbol: Crown

Day Nineteen
Jeremiah and the Exile:
Jeremiah 1:4-10 – the call of Jeremiah
Jeremiah 2:4-13 – exile
Jeremiah 7:1-15 – false religion worthless
Jeremiah 8:22-9:11 – exile
Symbol: Sheaf of Wheat (threshing floor is symbol of judgement)

Good Shepherd:
Ezekiel 34: 2b, 4-5, 10-12, 15a, 16a, 23-24
Symbol: Shepherd's Staff

Day Twenty
Habakkuk – Waiting
Habakkuk 1:1-2:1
 Habakkuk 3:16-19
 Symbol: Stone Watchtower

Suffering Servant:
 Isaiah 53: 4-7, 9, 12b
 Symbol: Cross

Day Twenty-one
Nehemiah – Returning and Rebuilding:
Nehemiah 1:1-2:8 – request to return to Jerusalem
 Nehemiah 6:15-16 – the completed wall
 Nehemiah 13:10-22 –  observing the sabbath
 Symbol: Saw & Chisel (tools for rebuilding)

New Covenant:
 Jeremiah 31:31-33
 Hebrews 9:13-15
 Symbol: The Law written on the Heart

Day Twenty-two
John the Baptist – Repentance:
 Luke 1:57-80 – birth of John the Baptist
 Luke 3:1-37 – Preparing the way, Jesus' baptism
 Mark 1:1-8 – Preparing the way
 Symbol: Scallop Shell (traditional art depicts John the Baptist using a shell for baptism) 

 Micah 5:2
 Luke 2:4-7
 Symbol: Bethlehem

Day Twenty-three
Mary – The Hope for the Future:
 Luke 1:26-38
 Symbol: Lily (purity)

Exile & Persecution:
 2 Kings 17:23
 Daniel 3:19, 21, 28
 Symbol: Fiery Furnace

Day Twenty-four
Elizabeth – Joy:
 Luke 1:39-56
 Symbol: Mother & Child

Return to Jerusalem:
 Nehemiah 1:3
 Nehemiah 2:18
 Nehemiah 6:15-16
 Revelation 21: 10-14
 Symbol: Saw & Chisel (tools for rebuilding)

Day Twenty-five
Zechariah – Anticipation:
 Luke 1:57-80
 Symbol: Pencil & Tablet

Christmas Star:
 Numbers 24:17-19a
 Matthew 2:1-6, 9-11

Day Twenty-six
Joseph – Trust:
 Matthew 1:19-25
 Symbol: Hammer (for carpentry)

Light of the World:
 Psalm 27:1-3
 John 1:9
 John 8:12
 Symbol: Candle

Day Twenty-seven
Magi – Worship:
 Matthew 2:1-12
 Symbol: Candle (Light to the World)

Angels Proclaim the Miraculous Birth:
Genesis 18:1-4, 8b-10a
 Luke 2:8-14
 Symbol: Angel

Christmas Eve
Birth of the Messiah:
 Luke 2:1-20
 Symbol: Jesus in Manger

Birth of Jesus:
 Luke 2:8-14

Christmas Day
Christ the Son of God:
 John 1:1-18
 Symbol: Chi Rho (Chrismon meaning Christ)

In addition to the readings given above I plan on talking about and singing the seven "O Antiphons" (each verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel covers one Antiphon) during the week before Christmas.

The Seven O Antiphons
and O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Beginning on December 17, and ending on December 23, the Seven O Antiphons can be used in preparation for Christmas. Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of His attributes mentioned in Scripture.

The benedictine monks arranged the antiphons with purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one (Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia) the latin words ero cras are formed, meaning: “Tomorrow, I will come”.

December 17

Wisdom: O Sapientia

O WISDOM, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

Isaiah 11:2-3; 28:29 (Symbol: Oil Lamp)

O Come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

December 18

Lord: O Adonai

O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arm.

Exodus 3:2, 20:1 (Symbol: Ten Commandments)

O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
Who to thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

December 19

Flower of Jesse: O Radix Jesse

O ROOT OF JESSE, who stands for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come to deliver us, and tarry not.

Isaiah 11:1-3 (Symbol: Rose)

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

December 20

Key of David: O Clavis David

O KEY OF DAVID, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Isaiah 22:22 (Symbol: Key)

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

December 21

Radiant Dawn: O Oriens

O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of the light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Psalm 19:6-7 (Symbol: Sun Rising)

O come, Thou Day-spring, from on high,
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

December 22

King of the Gentiles: O Rex Gentium

O KING OF THE GENTILES and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the earth.

 Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 (Symbol: Crown)

O come, Desire of Nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

December 23

Emmanuel: O Emmanuel

O EMMANUEL, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: Come to save us, O Lord our God.

Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 (Symbol: Tablets of Stone)

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


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