Sunday, December 9, 2012

Explain that again?

Advent! After drawing up some ideas, my husband executed a Jesse Tree banner from the felt we had bought together. I’m glad he did such a good job because now we can use this every year. In fact, we are thinking of making more for other times of year because we like the look of the felt banner so much. (The emblems are another story as painting on felt has proved to be difficult...we may need to make new ones next year)

Andrei asked a good question, though: Why did they choose these specific passages?

As I mentioned before, I don’t like Advent readings that aren't obviously related to Christmas. So what does the call of Abram, for example, have to do with the Incarnation?

To me, the typical Jesse Tree passages that I've seen in reading schedules are just bursting with the harmonious thread of the Gospel that runs throughout the Old Testament. I remember the first few times doing the readings with my then-roommate Jenya, and just being newly in awe about how God fulfilled His promises to His people.

It’s a bit like the “5 (6?) Degrees of Separation” game. How do you get from Genesis 12 to Christmas? Abram is called to go on a mission. He takes a step of faith that leads to him receiving a promise from God that he will have many descendants, one of whom turns out to be Jesus.

Couldn't you just take any Old Testament story? Technically, yes…they’re all connected somehow. But the stories featured are usually from the genealogy of Jesus as recorded in Matthew.

In a way, it IS a crash-course in the Old Testament, covered in less than a month. It would be exciting, though challenging, to read through the whole OT during this period. I've never tried. But I like to think the selected passages give a similar effect. The theme of the Fall of Man and our need of a Savior is traced from generation to generation until we get to the birth of Christ.

What about just going through all the prophecies about Jesus, up until his birth? That would be fine, too. But then the “family tree” illustration wouldn't really apply. And to be honest, I lose the historical context and sense of sequence when I read the Prophets.  But that would be another thing to try one year.


  1. Beautiful banner! You could try making the emblems on little round wooden disks; I glued images from the internet on the disks but it would be easy to draw them too. Or you could use plastic milk bottle caps that you have painted. (I can't remember if I saw plastic milk bottles in the stores in St. Pete...)

    The Jesse tree is a symbolic representation of the history of salvation up until Jesus' birth. It starts with creation, moves onto the fall of man, etc. Abram (Abraham) is important because of his covenant with God as the recognition of the one true God. Other stories build upon that. I'm not sure if it is really a "family tree" of Jesus; I think it is more "our family tree" of salvation...

    There are quite a few versions of the Jesse Tree, and each might highlight different sections and stories within the Old Testament. When I do it with my kids, some years we include prophets like Isaiah and/or Micah, depending on what readings we are studying as a family and/or hearing in church.

    My kids love the Jesse Tree--I bet your son will too when he gets older!

    I really enjoy reading your blog!

    1. Hi Cheryl! I'm glad you left a comment. I'm going to check out your blog too for ideas! If the emblems were made of wood, then how would we stick them on?

      Well, as I said, the people featured in the Jesse Tree I'm doing are all from the genealogy from the Gospel of Matthew. One thing I forgot to mention is that one of my favorite Christmas carols is "Lo, how a rose er blooming...from Jesse's stem hath sprung." The point here being the prophecy of the Messiah coming from the line of David, son of Jesse.

      However, it's possible that the genealogy is just the original meaning and there have been lots of adaptations over time. I agree that the current trend is to include symbols relating to salvation. I guess I would say that it's a genealogy running parallel with the story of salvation. I think if I were doing the Prophets or something that I would use a different design, not a tree.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! Credit goes to my husband, mostly. :)

  3. I love this, Liz. It's beautiful. And I love your working out of the Advent season. I'm such a reader/history buff that the whole of Scripture is fascinating to me in light of Christ's birth. Thanks for allowing us a glimpse into what God is doing in your heart and life this Christmas! Merry Christmas, my friend. I love you!

    1. Thank you, Ruth. I love hearing from you and I'm so glad to have you as a friend!


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