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An Older Symbol of Advent

What is the Jesse Tree? ~ by Winter

December 23, 2017 – Third Saturday of Advent

11 “A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” ~ Isaiah 11:1 (NRSVACE)

Jesse was the father of King David. The ornaments of the Jesse tree represent the prophecies, God’s people, and events that led up to the birth of Jesus.

When I was a child every December my dad would put up the Christmas Tree and we would decorate with very cute ornaments, I didn’t think much about the ornaments at the time. There were pretty little harps, an apple, ark, dove etc. As I grew older and attended bible class I made the connection that the ornaments we decorated our Christmas Tree with symbolized the stories and characters of the Old Testament. During the Advent season, we are called to wait and prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. Like in everything in life we need to prepare. You might question yourself, ‘How can I prepare for this momentous event?’ or maybe, ‘What do I do first in order that I will be prepared adequately?’ As a child, my dad taught me our faith, what we needed to do to be prepared. In fact, from an early age, I remember thinking deeply about the events of the bible and how the Bible tells us the stories of preparation that the people of God underwent while waiting for His miracles to be fullfilled.

Other memories I have during Advent was going to church every Sunday and listening to the priest remind the whole community to pray, repent, forgive so we can receive Jesus Christ; receive His precious gifts of hope, peace, joy, and of love. As practicing  Catholics and followers of Christ we are called to share those gifts with the rest of the world, so that way our world of jealousy and gossip can come to an end. God made a promise to Abraham’s family that He would bless his family and would always protect them. We follow God because He is the only one that will give us what we need when we feel alone, sad, depressed, hurt, or upset. God comforts us and He protects us just as He did Abraham’s many descendants. Advent is a time to really think about these things; to take the lessons of the Old Testament and apply them to our lives today. Each time I do this I can see how much in common we are with the characters found in the bible.

As a teacher myself I am always humbled and reminded how much my kids at school are like I was when I was their age, they ask the same questions such as, “but it is hard to follow Jesus’s steps” I always remind them that, “Yes, no one said it was easy and for Jesus himself it was not easy. But what we need to do is to be in constant prayer so we can always choose God.” After saying this another student said, “Advent is about change.” Smiling I encouraged that thought with,  “Yes, during Advent we are called to change and renew our hearts just like God’s people from the Old Testament.”

When we decide to choose God we receive many blessings from Him. That is why the Jesse Tree is another important symbol for the Advent Season; so the kids can understand that each ornament is much more than just decoration, instead, it is the family tree of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Powerful Teaching Tool: You might want to go over your own chronological family tree with your kids at home. Using this model they will begin to relate it to the family of Jesus.

Jesse Tree symbols and passages in the Old Testament were designed to show how the coming of Jesus had been predicted hundreds of years before his birth fulfilling them within the New Testament. When decorating your tree beginning on the first day of Advent place the first ornament. Each day after that in order until Christmas Eve until each ornament is on the tree. Below are the symbols traditionally used to put on the Jesse Tree;

  1. Adam and Eve – Ornament: Tree with Fruit or Apple
  2. Noah – Ornament: Rainbow or Ark
  3. Abraham – Ornament: Field of Stars
  4. Isaac – Ornament: Ram
  5. Jacob – Ornament: Ladder
  6. Joseph – Ornament: Coat of Many Colors
  7. Moses – Ornament: Burning Bush
  8. The Israelites – Ornament: Lamb
  9. Moses and Aaron – Ornament: Tablets of the Torah
  10. Joshua – Ornament: Ram’s Horn Trumpet
  11. Samuel – Ornament: Crown
  12. David – Ornament: Shepherd’s Crook or Harp
  13. Hezekiah – Ornament: An Empty Tent
  14. Isaiah – Ornament: Fire Tongs with Hot Coal
  15. Jeremiah – Ornament: Tears
  16. Habakkuk – Ornament: Stone Watchtower
  17. Nehemiah – Ornament: City Wall
  18. John the Baptist – Ornament: Scallop Shell
  19. Mary – Ornament: White Lily
  20. Elizabeth – Ornament: Mother and Child
  21. Zechariah – Ornament: Pencil and Tablet
  22. Joseph – Ornament: Carpenter’s Square or Hammer
  23. Jesus – Ornament: Manager
  24. Christ – Ornament: Chi-Rho

Christmas Traditions of the Jesse Tree  Click Here

The Jesse Tree – Loyola Press  Click Here

Amen, Alleluia!

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Primary Goal: To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

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“Let’s grow together as children of God” 

Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2017

 

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The Symbol of the Season

December 22, 2017 – Third Friday of Advent

18 “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” ~ Proverbs 4:18 (NRSVACE)

Short History

The Christian faith regardless of denomination is heavily influenced by a great many symbols. Though some of these symbols may not be directly related to the season they nevertheless ring of more modern origins helping to bring all of us closer to our singular Lord and Saviour.  Such is the case for the Advent Wreath, for its humble beginnings is credited to ‘a German theologian and educator by the name of Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808-1881)’ who introduced, ‘the idea of lighting an increasing number of candles as Christmas approached.’ ~ Das Rauhe Haus, “History, From 1832-1881.”  This idea served as a marker for the coming of the Lord and in combination with the Christmas tree, lighting candles, and the overwhelming jolly atmosphere of the season this symbol of Advent survives to modern day.

Spiritual Relevance

Now with the history of the Wreath and Candles out of the way let’s focus on the more spiritual idea behind it. As stated above in Proverbs 4:18 Advent is the season of preparation, of hope, and joy in glee anticipation of the coming of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Jesus professed to be the light, the way, the path to both righteousness and to the Kingdom of Heaven. When lighting the Advent Candle it becomes the most powerful of symbols of what Jesus professed to be and what He professed to have given to use. The candles colors’ too tell a deep rich story of faith and of forgiveness. Each week for six days the same candle is lite, the first one representing hope and the promises of a coming Savior. The second candle is lite with the first one on the Second Sunday of Advent and represents peace and the prophecies of a coming Savior. The season of Advent then builds in intensity with the lighting of the third candle with the first two on the Third Sunday of Advent. The third candle celebrates with joy that your hope in Christ is certain, hence last weeks post: “Gaudete!” Rejoice for the Lord is Near!  This third candle, however, is pink; more about that in a minute.  As for the first two purple candles, they are believed to represent both royalty and repentance.  Each week’s scripture paints the picture of how God planned to save humanity through His only son. Scripture records many prophecies that Jesus within His coming fulfilled. Now the third week brings with it the third candle, pink in color for it,  ‘is likened to a faded purple color as though the light is beginning to shine through it. It is “like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.’ ~ Tenny-Brittian, Bill. “Why Is There One Pink Advent Candle?”  This belief supports Proverbs 4:18 most spectacularly!

The Order of Lighting

Week 1: Purple Candle – The Prophecy Candle or the Candle of Hope. Scripture associated with it is Luke 1:14. First Sunday of Advent Post

Week 2: Purple Candle – The Bethlehem Candle or the Candle of Preparation. Scripture associated with it is Luke 1:26-27 and Isaiah 40:3. Second Sunday Post

Week 3: Pink Candle – The Sheperd Candle or the Candle of Joy. Scripture associated with it is Romans 13:11-1. Third Sunday Post

Week 4: Purple Candle – The Angel Candle or the Candle of Love. Scripture associated with it is Romans 16:25-27. Fourth Sunday Post – Coming this Sunday!

Christmas Day: White Candle – Christ’s Candle – The Lord is Here! It is time to celebrate the birth of Christ, the “light of the world”! Scripture associated with it is Luke 2:15-20  Christ Is Here! Post – Coming this Monday! 

Morning Reading

5 “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me, there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things. Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also; I the Lord have created it.” ~ Isaiah 45:5-8

Ant. “The moment that your greeting reached my ears, the child within my womb leapt for joy.”

Amen, Alleluia!

Primary Goal: To Always Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Ways to Communicate


Finding Ways to Support Others:

To help support education click the link in the sidebar entitled – Current Fundraisers. It’s just a little that means so much in this season of giving.

View current promotions – Click Here

Listening Faithfully Survey – Help us make improvements for you. CLICK HERE

Stay In Touch

As always, I humbly invite you to stay connected by sending me a message at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com, or by visiting Listening Faithfully Facebook page.

Don’t forget to become part of this awesome community by signing up at Listening Faithfully Community Page. In addition, I have started a new page where you can also visit me at fb.me/listeninfaith and send me messages at m.me/listeninfaith.

Finally, another means of direct communication os by sending me a tweet on Twitter at Brian Keith@Listeninfaith, or become a part of our spiritual group: Friends who Like Listening Faithfully…. “Let’s grow together as children of God” 

Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2017

 

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