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Jesse Tree Revisited…

November 26, 2016



Advent is a three-fold season of anticipation:
anticipating the coming of the Messiah through salvation history,
anticipating Jesus’ coming into my life here and now,
and anticipating His coming in triumph at the end of time.

The better we understand the first anticipation, the story,
the better we are prepared for the others.

The first year I wrote Advent reflections (way back in 2002!),
I focused on the story, with a “written Jesse Tree”,
tracing salvation history through the genealogy of Jesus
from Creation through the Nativity.
For several years, I had made a physical Jesse Tree
with my prince,
reading the stories from Sacred Scripture,
making an ornament to represent each one,
and hanging it on a “tree”.
Further reflections grew (appropriately!)
out of that experience.

Recent conversations with people unfamiliar
with this “big picture” of the Old Testament
have inspired me to revisit the theme here,
going through the stories that led up to the first Christmas.

I invite you to consider making your own Jesse tree.

Don’t just read.


Get a “tree”, whether it’s a branch in a pot (we used a dead azalea!),
an extra little evergreen (real or not) or drawn on poster board.
For each day, make a symbol (using felt, toothpicks, stickers, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, whatever suits your fancy!),
find a symbol (pictures from magazines, cards, or just a “found item” that fits)
or print & cut out one of the images I include
and hang it on your “tree”.

As your tree fills, you’ll have tangible memory aids of the unfolding story.

The term “Jesse Tree” comes from Isaiah 11:1:

A shoot shall sprout
from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow
out of his roots.
~Isaiah 11:1

Here are the stories I will be following, so you can plan ahead:


The Jesse Tree is a family tree–
Jesus’ family,
God’s family,
our family.

We begin in the beginning…

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