Monday, December 01, 2014

Advent/Jesse Tree 2014 - the short(er) version

A few years back, I wrote and wrote and wrote...and wrote...about our Advent/Jesse tree traditions and posted a week by week plan of possibilities for celebrating Advent. This year I want to gather it all up into something more concise. Sooooo...this post is going to contain the master lists and basic information.

 Advent always begins four Sundays before Christmas. If Christmas is on a Sunday, this would be the 5th Sunday. Advent means "coming," and during the season of Advent we remember the coming of Yeshua, the Messiah. Our family uses a Jesse Tree to remember and tell the story from Creation to the birth of Yeshua. For each day of Advent we remember one person or story from the Biblical genealogy, and we hang a symbol of that person or story on our Jesse Tree. We also use an Advent wreath with four candles in a circle and a 5th candle in the middle to mark time as we pass through the Advent season. Each Sunday we light a new candle. On Christmas we light the 5th candle. Here is the meaning for each candle:

First Week - Hope
Second Week - Peace
Third Week - Joy
Fourth Week - Love
Christmas Candle - Yeshua

It is traditional for the Hope, Peace, and Love candles to be purple, for the Joy candle to be pink, and for the Christmas Candle to be white. In our home, we don't always use the traditional colors, but we do distinguish the Joy candle from the rest. We have used the same white Christmas Candle for many, many years since it only burns for a short time on Christmas morning.

And here is our list of stories for our Jesse Tree and the symbol we use for each story. The longest possible length for Advent is 29 days. So, we have 29 possible stories/people/ideas to cover during Advent. Many years, Advent is shorter. On shorter years we combine stories. If you look through the list, you'll see that many of the final symbols are part of the relatively short story of the birth of Jesus (Mary, Joseph, Travel to Bethlehem, Angels, Shepherds, & Wise Men) and can easily be combined into one day or spread out over several.
  1. What is a Jesse Tree? (Isaiah 11:1) -  Tree
  2. Creation - World
  3. The Fall - Apple
  4. Noah - Ark
  5. Abraham - Camel
  6. Isaac - Ram
  7. Jacob - Ladder
  8. Joseph - Coat 
  9. Miriam/Exodus story - Music Notes
  10. Moses/Mount Sinai - Stone Tablets
  11. Joshua - Trumpet
  12. Ruth - Sheaves of Grain
  13. Samuel - Lamp
  14. David - Harp
  15. Solomon - Crown
  16. Elijah - Raven
  17. Elisha - Dove
  18. Isaiah - Scroll
  19. Jeremiah - Teardrop 
  20. Esther - Scepter
  21. Nehemiah - Cup
  22. Zachariah & Elizabeth - Pencil and/or Mother & Child
  23. Mary - Lily
  24. Joseph - Hammer
  25. John the Baptist - Seashell
  26. Travel to Bethlehem - Donkey
  27. Birth a Jesus - Baby in a Manger
  28. Angels & Shepherds - Angel & Staff
  29. Wise Men - Star
Stories/People we have included from time to time, but aren't on our official list for this year:
  • Gideon - Clay Water Pitcher
  • Deborah - Palm Tree
  • Jonah - Whale
  • Daniel - Lion
  • Micah - City of Bethlehem
  • Hezekiah - Empty Tent
  • Habakkuk - Stone Watch Tower
  • Nehemiah - City Wall
When Mane was little, we covered most of the Jesse Tree stories by simply reading them out of a Children's Bible. It doesn't have to be any more complicated than that. Over the years, we've collected some lovely picture books that tell some of the individual stories, and we read these instead. (Many of these can be found by clicking the appropriate label in the sidebar.)

Happy Advent!

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