Advent is a time of waiting, a time of anticipation and preparation for the coming of Jesus. In the early church, where people were generally uneducated, they would use art and symbols to tell the stories about preparing for the coming of Jesus as our Savior. This year we are focusing on one of those traditions which is called the Jesse Tree.
The Jesse Tree is the family tree of Jesus. It goes back to the very beginning, to Creation; it traces his family through the Old Testament and it ends when he is born on Christmas day. A Jesse tree is a little like an advent calendar except that it emphasizes the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Jesus Christ. Like any advent countdown, the Jesse tree has one ornament per day. Unlike a calendar, though, the Jesse tree tradition focuses on a passage of Scripture and a character each day. In four weeks we read about kings and common people, about widows and children and brave fighters. We read about the great and wonderful things that God orchestrated on our behalf.
Each day of advent there is a story from the Old or New Testament which tells of God preparing us for his Son’s arrival. You are asked to read that story with your family – mealtimes or before the youngest child’s bedtime work well! Along with the story is a symbol which reminds us of the story. These symbols are used as ornaments and hung on your Christmas tree or a special Jesse tree you can make out of a branch, paper mache, etc. We’ve provided paper ornaments for you to cut out and use but if you want to make your own, feel free! At the end of advent, your tree will be filled with all the stories of how much God has done for us.
In addition to a daily devotional, we’ll have fun videos on this website for each day of advent. Families and programs at NPC have adopted each of the days to help us engage with the stories in a variety of ways.
Devotional written by Jenny Fenlason