A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.— Isaiah 11:1
Jesse was the father of the great King David. He is often looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus. During the Middle Ages a design developed in church art showing the relationship of Jesus with Jesse and other biblical figures. This design showed a branched tree growing from a reclining figure of Jesse. The various branches had pictures of other Old and New Testament figures who were ancestors of Jesus. At the top of the tree were figures of Mary and Jesus. This design was used mostly in stained glass windows in some of the great medieval cathedrals of Europe. The Cathedral of Chartres has a particularly beautiful Jesse Tree window.
This Advent you are invited to take part in a Jesse Tree devotional.
A booklet containing the stories of Jesus’ ancestors will be available at the ushers’ table. Please take one to use in a family devotion time. Perhaps you could take 10 minutes after supper or just before bedtime. If you have an Advent wreath or log, this would be a good time to light its candles. Read the scripture passage designated for that day, then read the devotional reflection piece. Have a brief discussion of the question for the day. Conclude your time with the short prayer provided, or compose your own.
You may also wish to create and decorate your own Jesse Tree. A large house plant such as a fig tree might work well. Or you could use a small evergreen like a Christmas tree. Use the symbols that are pictured with each biblical story as a basis for creating your decorations—copy and colour them, or use your creativity to create your personalized ornaments!
May the devotional practice of the Jesse Tree lead you and your family into a deeper celebration of the Nativity - the flowering of the shoot of Jesse.
The booklet and symbols are also available for download at the links below.