Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Season, Christ & The Jesse Tree - Do your kids really know what Christmas is about?

Last night my 4 year old said to me, "Mommy, do you know what happens at Christmas?"  I assumed that he was just parroting what I'd heard my husband say to him a few days before, where my husband asked my boys, "Why do we celebrate Christmas", and my 4 year old blurted out "Jesus was born".  So last night when Caleb said "Mommy, do you know what happens at Christmas," I started to mentally prepare my simplest, most theologically correct response, but before I could open my mouth Caleb started in to tell me that "Santa comes and leaves presents".  I didn't know how to respond, but did wake up this morning knowing that EVERY DAY of this Advent Season I need to be counter-cultural, impressing upon my kids that Santa is not point, or the culmination of the season - Christ is.

So, I need to finally get around to doing something I heard about a couple of Christmases ago, but have yet to implement as a tradition - the Jesse Tree.  Have you heard about the Jesse Tree?  Do you already do it with your kids?  I leared of it at a MOPS meeting a couple of years ago, and think it is a neat way to celebrate the Advent Season. 

If you google "Jesse Tree", you'll find quite a few sites with ideas, and since I've never actually done this with my family, I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but I want you to encourage you to google it like I did and try it with your family.  You can make your own tree, or buy a kit with one online, but the point is to celebrate the Birth of Christ by recognizing the lineage He came from, and by doing a small devotion every day of the Advent Season in conjuction with hanging an ornament on the Jesse Tree. 

For more info, and suggested daily devotional schedules, check out the following sites:

Tree of Jesse (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Tree of Jesse is a depiction in art of the Ancestors of Christ, shown in a tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David; the original use of the family tree as a schematic representation of a genealogy. It originates in a passage in the Biblical Book of Isaiah which describes metaphorically the descent of the Messiah, and is accepted by Christians as referring to Jesus.
The passage in Isaiah, 11:1 is: "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.[

In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is traced by two of the Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the "generations of Christ" in Chapter 3 of Luke's Gospel, beginning with Jesus himself and tracing backwards through his "earthly father" Joseph all the way to Adam.

Matthew's Gospel opens with the words: "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham".[3] With this beginning Matthew makes clear Jesus' whole lineage: He is of God's chosen people, by his descent from Abraham, and he is the "shoot of Jesse" by his descent from Jesse's son, King David.[4] The figures shown are drawn from the genealogies in the Gospels, usually showing only a selection.

JESSE TREE SCRIPTURES/Suggested Daily Devotionals (The symbols are only suggestions)

December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman
December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite
December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain
December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder
December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes
December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple
December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd's staff
December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star
December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle
December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart
December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river

On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons.

December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols: oil lamp, open book
December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets
December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower
December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains
December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18) Symbols: sun rising or high in sky
December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter
December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host
December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun

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