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Faith magazinepresents

2012 Advent Reflections


for the Jesse Tree

Tuesday, November 27

But ashoot shall sprout fromthestump of Jesse, and fromhis roots abud shall
blossom. Isaiah 11:1

The first Jesse Tree symbol is a dove, reminding us of the peace and
harmony of creation as God intended. You can read the full story of Jesse in
Isai ah 11:110 and David in 1 Samuel 16:113. Jesse is the father of David,
beginning a line of descendents that will lead to Jesus, the Messiah.


Wednesday, November 28

Thewoman saw that thetreewas good for food, pleasing totheeyes, and desirablefor
gaining wisdom. Soshetook someof its fruit and ateit; and shealsogavesometoher husband,
whowas with her, and heateit. Then theeyes of both of themwereopened and they realized they
werenaked; sothey sewed fig leaves together and madeloincloths for themselves.
Genesis 3:67

The Jesse Tree symbol for this reading is an apple, representing original si n.
Christ is called the second or new Adam because he ushered in a new creation,
forgiving sin and restoring humanity to Gods grace. The whole story of Adam and Eve
can be found in Genesi s 2:43:24.


Thursday, November 29

Then God said toNoah: Goout of theark, together with your wifeand sons and your
sons wives. Bring out with you every living thing that is with youall bodily creatures, bethey
birds or animals or creeping things of theearthand let themabound on theearth, breeding and
multiplying on it. Genesis 8:1517

The Jesse Tree symbol of the ark reminds us that although God
was displeased with the wickedness of the men and women he had
created, he also sees the best in us and renews his covenant with us
through forgiveness and mercy.
You can read the full story of Noah and the ark in Genesi s 6:1122, 7:18:22.


Friday, Nov. 30

Hetook himoutsideand said, Look up at thesky and count thestars, if you can. Just
so, headded, shall your descendants be. Abramput his faith in theLord, whocredited it tohim
as an act of righteousness.
Genesis 15: 56

The symbol for todays reading is a field of stars,
representing Gods promise to Abraham, the father of our faith,
whose descendants became the chosen people of God. You can
learn more about Abrahams great faith in God in Genesi s 12:17
and 15:16.


Saturday, December 1

But theLords messenger called tohimfromheaven, Abraham, Abraham! Yes, Lord,
heanswered. Donot lay your hand on theboy, said themessenger. Donot dotheleast thing to
him. I know now how devoted you aretoGod, sinceyou did not withhold frommeyour own
beloved son. Genesis 22: 1112

The ram depicted on todays ornament is the sacrifice God provided Abraham
when he saw Abraham was willing to give up his only son, if that is what God required
of hi m. Read about Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22:119.


Sunday, December 2

Then hehad adream: astairway (sometimes translated as aladder) rested on the
ground, with its top reaching totheheavens; and Gods messengers weregoing up and down on
it. And therewas theLord standing besidehimand saying, I, theLord, amtheGod of your
forefather Abrahamand theGod of Isaac; theland on which you arelying I will givetoyou and
your descendants. Theseshall beas plentiful as thedust of theearth, and through themyou shall
spread out east and west, north and south. In you and your descendants all thenations of the
earth shall find blessing. Know that I amwith you; I will protect you wherever you go, and bring
you back tothis land. I will never leaveyou until I havedonewhat I promised you.
Genesis 28: 1215

After his dream, Jacob awoke and exclaimed, Truly, the Lord is in this spot,
although I did not know it! The miraculous ladder in his dream reunited the earth to
the divine. You can read the dramatic story of Jacobs life and faith in Genesi s 27:41
28:22.

Monday, December 3

During theseven years of plenty, when theland produced abundant crops, hehusbanded
all thefood of theseyears of plenty that theland of Egypt was enjoying and stored it in thetowns,
placing in each town thecrops of thefields around it. Joseph garnered grain in quantities likethe
sands of thesea, sovast that at last hestopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.
Genesis 41: 4749

Todays symbol is a sack of grain. Joseph, the son of Jacob, is cast out by
his brothers. But through his faith in Gods providence, he has enough
food to feed all who are hungry in times of famine, with sacks of grain
bursting at the seams. Read the story of Josephs life in Genesis Chapters
37 to 50.


Tuesday, December 4

As helooked on, hewas surprised toseethat thebush, though on fire, was not
consumedGod called out tohimfromthebush, Moses! Moses! He
answered, HereI am. God said, Comenearer! Removethesandals
fromyour feet, for theplacewhereyou stand is holy ground. I amthe
God of your father, hecontinued, theGod of Abraham, theGod of
Isaac, theGod of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for hewas afraid tolook at
God. But theLord said,Come, now! I will send you toPharaoh to
lead my people, theIsraelites, out of Egypt. Exodus 3:210

Moses, raised as an Egyptian by the pharaohs daughter, is wi tness to
Gods word when an angel appears to him as a burning bush, depicted in todays
symbol, and instructs him to lead the people of Israel to the Promised Land.
Read Moses story in Exodus 2:14:20.

Wednesday, December 5

This is how you aretoeat it, with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your
staff in hand, you shall eat likethosewhoarein flight. It is thePassover of theLord.
Exodus 12: 11

Todays ornament has a l amb on it. God instructs Moses and Aaron to
slaughter a yearold male l amb for each member of Israel, smearing the blood to
mark every doorpost, thus beginning the tradition of Passover and marking the
exodus of the Israelites out of sl avery. You can read the whole Passover story in
Exodus 12:114:31.

Thursday, December 6
(Feast of St. Nicholas)

TheLord said toMoses, Thus shall you speak totheIsraelites: You haveseen
for yourselves that I havespoken toyou fromheaven. Donot makeanything torank with
me; neither gods of silver nor gods of gold shall you makefor yourselves.
Exodus 20: 2223

God delivered the commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai and Moses
brought the resulting tabletsand the commandmentsback to his people. The
ornament depicts the tablets on which the commandments were written. You
will find the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments in Exodus 19:120:26.


Friday, December 7

As thehorns blew, thepeoplebegan toshout. When they heard thesignal horn,
they raised atremendous shout. Thewall collapsed, and thepeoplestormed thecity.
Joshua6:20

Today we hang a trumpet on the Jesse Tree. According to Gods
instructions to Joshua, the walls around the besieged city of Jericho crumbled at
the trumpets of ram horns blown by holy men and the spoils were left for the
Israelites. Read the story of Joshua and the fall of Jericho in Joshua 1:111, 6:120.

Saturday, December 8
(Feast of the Immaculate Conception)

They held thetorches in their left hands, and in their right the
horns they wereblowing, and they cried out, A sword for theLord and
Gideon! They all remained standing in placearound thecamp whilethewholecamp fell
torunning and shouting and fleeing.
Judges 7: 2021

God chose to reveal his power to Gideon, who came from a poor family,
by letting his army of 300 men defeat more than 100,000 at Midi an. Gideon
followed the Lords instruction to have his men approach the town with their
torches hidden under pitchers. The people of Mi di an were so startled when the
pitchers were broken and the soldiers made themselves known, that many began
fighting among themselves. The pitcher ornament reminds us of how Gideon
became an unlikely leader and judge, helping his people cast aside false gods
and obey Gods true l aws. Read Judges 7 for more details.

Sunday, December 9

Samuel grew up, and theLord was with him, not permitting any word of his to
bewithout effect. 1 Samuel 3:19

Samuel, son of Eli, was repeatedly called by God. When at last he
recognized the Lords call, he adhered to it without fail, and proclaimed the
coming of Christ the King who would have dominion over all earthly kings. The
symbol of the Jesse Tree to illustrate Samuels story is a crown. Read about
Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:121, 7:18:22, 9:1510:9.


Monday, December 10

Then Samuel asked Jesse, Aretheseall thesons you have? Jessereplied, Thereis
still theyoungest, whois tending thesheep.Jessesent and had theyoung man brought
tothem. Hewas ruddy, ayouth handsometobehold and making asplendid appearance.
TheLord said, Thereanoint him, for this is he! Then Samuel, with thehorn of oil in
his hand, anointed himin themidst of his brothers; and fromthat day on, thespirit of
theLord rushed upon David. 1 Samuel 16: 1113

David was first a shepherd of livestock, but when God called him to
lead the nation of Israel, he became a shepherd of people to help them
become what God wanted them to be. The shepherds crook on todays ornament
symbolizes Jesus as the Good Shepherd who will lay down his life for others.
Read 1 Samuel 16, 17 and 2 Samuel 7:117.


Tuesday, December 11

At thetimefor offering sacrifice, theprophet Elijah cameforward and said, Lord,
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it beknown this day that you areGod in Israel and that
I amyour servant and havedoneall thesethings by your command. Answer me, Lord!
Answer me, that this peoplemay know that you, Lord, areGod and that you havebrought
themback totheir senses. TheLords firecamedown and consumed theholocaust, wood,
stones, and dust and it lapped up thewater in thetrench. Seeing this, all thepeoplefell
prostrateand said, TheLord is God! TheLord is God!
1 Kings 18:3639

The prophet Elijah is called by God to dispel the myths of false gods
increasingly worshipped by the people. On todays ornament we see a
representation of the stone altar Elijah built, consecrated by the Lord with fire,
showing people the true light of God. To read the full story, turn to 1 Kings 17:116,
18:1746.
Wednesday, December 12
(Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe)

I will shield and savethis city for my own sake, and for thesakeof
my servant David. That night theangel of theLord went forth and struck
down onehundred and eightyfivethousand men in theAssyrian camp.
2 Kings 19:3435

King Hezekiah put his trust in the Lord. Through his faithfulness his
people were saved and his enemi es destroyed, leaving their tentslike the one
on todays ornamentempty on the battlefield. The story of Hezekiah can be
found in 2 Kings 18:118; 19:3237.


Thursday, December 13

Thepeoplewhowalked in darkness haveseen agreat light; upon thosewho
dwelt in theland of gloomalight has shone. Isaiah 9:1

The prophet Isai ah is called to holiness, but fears he is not worthy of
revealing the living God. Isai ah sees angels around the throne of the Lord and
one of them takes a hot emberl ike the one on todays ornamentfrom a fire
with tongs and touches it against Isaiahs lips. He is able to go forth, forgiven of
his si ns, to deliver the Word of God. Read about Isai ah and some of his
prophesies about the Messi ah in Isaiah 1:1020; 6:113, 9:17.


Friday, December 14

Oh, that my head wereaspring of water, my eyes afountain of tears, that I might weep
day and night over theslain of thedaughter of my people! Jeremiah 8:23

The Lord speaks to Jeremiah while he is in exile, describing his grief as an
endl ess fountain of tears regarding the return of his people to worshiping idols.
Read more about Jeremi ah in Jeremiah 1:410, 2:413, 7:115 and 8:229:111.


Saturday, December 15

I will stand at my guard post, and station myself upon therampart, and keep watch to
seewhat hewill say tome, and what answer hewill givetomy
complaint. Habakkuk 2:1

The ornament today shows a watchtower, reminding us that the prophet
Habakkuk stood upon an allegorical watchtower, waiting for the anointed one
the Lord would send to end violence and wickedness. Find details that help us
understand the churchs desire for us to experience waiting during Advent in
Habakkuk 1:12:1; 3:1619.


Sunday, December 16

But remember, I pray, thepromisewhich you gavethrough Moses, your
servant, when you said: Should you provefaithless, I will scatter you among thenations;
but should you return tomeand carefully keep my commandments, even though your
outcasts havebeen driven tothefarthest corner of theworld, I will gather themfrom
there, and bring themback totheplaceI havechosen as thedwelling placefor my name.
Nehemiah 1: 89

The prophet Nehemi ah urges the chosen people to change their ways and
return to the true faith. On the ornament for today, we see a wall reminding us of
the wall that was rebuilt around Jerusalem in order to keep the Sabbath Day a
holy day of rest. Read more about it in Nehemiah 1:12:8; 6:1516; 13:1022.

Monday, December 17

John answered themall saying, I ambaptizing you with
water, but onemightier than I is coming. I amnot worthy toloosen
thethongs of his sandals. Hewill baptizeyou with theHoly Spirit and
fire. Luke3:16

John the Baptist proclaims the coming of a new savior and
renewed life for all through the repentance of sins. The ornament
today features a scallop shell, a traditional symbol of baptism in addition to
pilgrimages and spreading the word of the Gospel. Read more about John the
Baptist in Luke 1:5780, 3:120; 7:1830.

Tuesday, December 18

Then theangel said toher, Donot beafraid, Mary, for you havefound favor
with God. Behold, you will conceivein your womband bear ason, and you shall name
himJesus. Hewill begreat and will becalled Son of theMost
High, and theLord God will givehimthethroneof David his
father, and hewill ruleover thehouseof Jacobforever, and of
his kingdomtherewill benoend. Luke1: 3033

The angel Gabriel tells Mary she will be the handmaiden of the Lord,
mother of our savior, Jesus. The white lily on todays ornament symbolizes new
life and resurrectionhope for the future. Read about Gabriels visit with Mary
and her response in the Gospel of Luke 1:2638.


Wednesday, December 19

Elizabeth, filled with theHoly Spirit, cried out in aloud voiceand said, Most
blessed areyou among women, and blessed is thefruit of your womb.Luke1:4142

Mary travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who has conceived a child in
old age through a miracle. The child in her womb, John the Baptist, leaps with
joy when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, arrives. Our ornament today celebrates the
motherhood shared by these women. The story can be found in Luke 1:3956.


Thursday, December 20

John is his name. Luke1: 63

When Elizabeth gave birth to a son, family and friends expected him to be
named after his father, Zechariah. But Zechariah, unable to speak, wrote on a
tablet, as seen on todays ornament, that the child should be named John.
Because of his obedience, Zechariah regained his voice, and proclaimed
anticipation of the coming of the Lord. You can read the whole story in Luke
1:5780.


Friday, December 21

theangel of theLord appeared tohimin adreamand said, Joseph, son of
David, donot beafraid totakeMary your wifeintoyour home. For it is through theHoly
Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. Shewill bear ason and you aretocall him
Jesus, becausehewill savehis peoplefromtheir sins. Matthew 1: 2022

Joseph trusted God that Mary had conceived a child
through the Holy Spirit and would bear the Savior who would
bring salvation to all. The carpenters hammer on todays
ornament represents Josephs profession and his unique role in the
story of our salvation. Read more in Matthew 1:1925.


Saturday, December 22

Whereis thenewborn king of theJews? Wesaw his star at its rising and have
cometodohimhomage. Matthew 2:2

The three magi look for Jesus, guided by the light of a star, shining
brightly above his birthplace. They prostrate themselves before the manger and
do not turn the child and his parents over to King Herod. The white candle on
todays ornament symbolizes Christ; the glow recalls the halo of light signifying
divinity and power. You will find the story in Matthew 2:112.


Sunday, December 23

Theangel said tothem, Donot beafraid; for behold, I proclaimtoyou good
news of great joy that will befor all thepeople. For today in thecity of
David asavior has been born for you whois Messiah and Lord. And this
will beasign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling
clothes and lying in amanger. Luke2: 1012

Christ Jesus is born and laid in a lowly manger, depicted on our
ornament today. Shepherds are instructed by angels to witness the miracle of this
childs birth, to show homage and spread the good news. Read the story of Jesus
birth in Luke 2:115.




Monday, December 24

Now I haveseen and testified that heis theSon of God. John 1:34

Merry Christmas! The apostle John bears witness to the coming of the
Light of the World, the only Son of God, briefly retelling some of the history we
have learned through the Jesse Tree. The ChiRho monogram is a combination of
the first two letters for the Greek word of Christos, Christ. The
introduction of St. Johns Gospel, verses 134, will take you
through Johns testimony.