Advent, which is a Latin word meaning Coming has come to represent a season of spiritual preparation leading up to Christmas and the coming of the Christ child. It mirrors the Lenten season of preparation in spring before remembrance of the death of Christ. Both traditions were intended to prepare the hearts and minds of believers who would be baptized during those special celebrations
Early Advent Tradition
In the early centuries of the church when believers did not own bibles and many could not read, the church aided contemplation through visual works of art. Wood cuttings, stained glass windows and illuminations depicted the story of Christ’s long-awaited coming. The medieval church sometimes used a tree with simple ornaments to illustrate the story. At first, the Advent tradition emphasized the genealogy of Christ as recorded in Matthew’s gospel account.
Later on, the western European believers incorporated use of an evergreen circle, the Advent wreath, to contemplate not only the ancestry of Jesus, but the biblical events which foretold of the One who would bring peace, hope and light. In more modern times, the Advent calendar has become a popular means of preparing individuals and families to appreciate the culmination of promises.
The Jesse Tree
An increasingly popular Advent tradition is the Jesse Tree. The tree is named for the promise of Isaiah 11:1 which says “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Jesus, of course, is the righteous Branch growing from the root of Jesse (father of King David). While the ancient church identified individuals in their Advent celebration, the Jesse Tree builds on the idea of the Advent wreath and highlights events in the Biblical story.
All of the stories reveal the scarlet thread of redemption woven into God’s perfect Word. Each day, a bible story is read that shows how God was redeeming and rescuing people all through the Old Testament. Each story is represented on the tree by an ornament. The creation story, for instance, may be represented by a globe ornament, the story of Ruth by a sheaf of wheat. Micah’s foretelling that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem is pictured by a miniature village.
Buy For Yourself or Give as a Gift
You can make your own Jesse Tree, but you can also buy ornaments for your tree. The Printery House offers a boxed set of 28 colorful and meaningful ornaments to be hung on a Jesse Tree. Every ornament in the set comes with its own card giving the corresponding bible passage and an appropriate prayer.
Kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy the opportunity to see how God has been at work calling a people to Himself and promising good to those who heed His call from the very start. Make this Christmas more meaningful than ever for your family by using a Jesse Tree, or give a box of ornaments to children you love.