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Jesse Tree And Advent

Jesse Tree and Advent are tied together where as the Jesse Tree has biblical root. Some parishes defer the use of a Christmas tree to a Jesse Tree in the Altar or sanctuary area. Of course some of the Christmas Tree roots do go back to Pagan believes around the time of Constantine, who added some of the  pagan tradition into Christianity as a conversion point. The use of a Jesse Tree and now the variation the Jesse Tree Advent Wreath provide solutions for those with concerns. The Jesse Tree is steeped in Jewish tradition and henceforth Christian tradition.

Running in parallel with the Advent wreath each week ornaments are placed on the Jesse Tree. But these ornaments are not the frosty little snowmen, or Santas they ornament well thought out to show the evolution up through the birth of Christ.  In some places the ornaments are placed daily and there is a coinciding Old Testament passage to be read each day that highlight a person who contributed to moving God’s word forward.  If doing this daily you may choose to draw on construction paper a Dove or fish or maybe a tree. And as Genesis 1:1-2:3 is read aloud you would place this item on the tree.

Churches may do this weekly and make it coincide with the lighting of each of the advent wreath candles. They selected Joseph, David (son of Jesse), John the Baptist and Jesus as the Sunday persons that the ornaments are to be based on. For Joseph, the ornament should be a Sack of Grain or a Coat. For David’s representation it should be a Shepherd’s Crook or a Harp and for John the Baptist, a Scallop Shell. And for Jesus, the ornament prescribed is a manger.

 As parents struggle to keep Christmas about Jesus, the use of the Jesse Tree, especially if the parish is using one, is the reason that a Jesse tree advent wreath may be a perfect addition to the home.  The scenes are displayed around the wreath to make a circle.  The daily practice of speaking about Biblical Figures helps shift the focus from commercialism and the chorus of “I want” when it comes to toys.

The other nice thing about the Jesse Tree is this can be a great opportunity for you to read the Bible stories that go along with each person. It is a great refresher for the parent where as many under forty were not as well catechized as their parents. Rome recognizes this problem and is starting adult education programs. However, to go with a Jesse Tree themed advent wreath it’s a great way to brush up on who the major figures of the Old Testament where as well as the Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and her husband, Zachariah as well as the Magi.

Advent can be a season used not only as a penitential season but it can also be used to strengthen the core of the family. The Jesse Tree is sometimes called an Advent Tree because it functions throughout Advent, foretelling of the good news that is coming, the birth of our Savior.

This article was published on Sunday 18 May, 2008.

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