Tag Archives: Reclaim Advent

Advent Lesson Eight: The Tree of Jesse

The oldest complete Jesse Tree window is in Chartres Cathedral, 1145.

“The Tree of Jesse is a depiction in art of the Ancestors of Christ, shown in a tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David; the original use of the family tree as a schematic representation of a genealogy. It originates in a passage in the Biblical Book of Isaiah which describes metaphorically the descent of the Messiah, and is accepted by Christians as referring to Jesus. The subject is often seen in Christian art, particularly in that of the Medieval period. The earliest example dates from the 11th century.

The passage in Isaiah, 11:1 is: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.[1] In the Latin Vulgate Bible used in the Middle Ages this was: “et egredietur virga de radice Iesse et flos de radice eius ascendet ” or “.. a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up…”.[2] Flos, pl floris is Latin for flower. Virga is a “green twig”, “rod” or “broom”, as well as a convenient near-pun with Virgo or Virgin, which undoubtedly influenced the development of the image. Thus Jesus is the Virga Jesse or “shoot of Jesse”.

In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is traced by two of the Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the “generations of Christ” in Chapter 3 of Luke’s Gospel, beginning with Jesus himself and tracing backwards through his “earthly father” Joseph all the way to Adam.

Matthew’s Gospel opens with the words: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham”.[3] With this beginning Matthew makes clear Jesus’ whole lineage: He is of God’s chosen people, by his descent from Abraham, and he is the “shoot of Jesse” by his descent from Jesse‘s son, King David.[4] The figures shown are drawn from the genealogies in the Gospels, usually showing only a selection.”  [Wikipedia]

Miniature, Jacques de Besançon, Paris, c.1485. Showing 43 generations. Below, the birth and childhood of Mary.

To learn more about the history and art of The Tree of Jesse:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_Jesse 

It is worth reading and contains dozens of art images.

“The secular Christmas Tree, and the Advent calendar, have been adapted in recent years by some modern Christians, who may use the term “Jesse Tree”, although the tree does not usually show Jesse or the Ancestors of Christ, and so may have little or no relation to the traditional Tree of Jesse. This form is a poster or a real tree in the church or home, which over the course of Advent is decorated with symbols to represent stories leading up to the Christmas story, for the benefit of children. The symbols are simple, for example a burning bush for Moses and a ram for Isaac.”  [Wikipedia]

This link describes how to use the Jesse Tree in your home:  http://www.crivoice.org/jesse.html

Here  is a great idea for families with children:  You can download a printable kit to make Jesse Tree ornaments.  Right now the kit is free!


During the 27 days preceding Christmas (the 27 days being known as “Advent”, as it refers to the advent or “coming” of Jesus Christ), an ornament is hung on the tree and a verse or portion of Scripture is read each night.” [from link posted above]

For other ideas on how to create a Jesse Tree or buy a kit, Google it!  


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Advent Lesson Two: The Gift of Time

Detail of  “Advent and the Triumph of Christ,” a painting by Hans Memling,  A.D. 1480, which depicts the Life of Christ and the journey through the Church Year,

from Advent to Christmas, from Lent to Easter and Pentecost.

Dear Class,

Welcome to Advent Lesson Two!

Advent Lessons are for anyone who truly desires to “reclaim Advent.”  The lessons are on-line and there is no fee or tuition!  I ask only that you read all the entries, in sequential order.

In Advent Lesson One, we learned that the purpose of the Church Calendar is for God’s people to collectively rehearse and reenact the Grand Drama of Redemption.  Today I will provide some practical tips to assist you, in preparing for the Season of Advent.

Please get out a sheet of three-ring college-ruled paper.  Grab a ruler and a black Sharpie pen.  Draw a “box,” to highlight the margins of the sheet, left, right, top, and bottom.  Inside the box, write the words: “The Gift of the Season of Advent.”     Label the margins,  “Everything Else.”  Post this sheet on your refrigerator or bulletin board.

You have just taken the first step in “reclaiming Advent.”  To properly approach the Season of Advent, we must first view it as a gift which we receive:  It is a treasure, so cherish it, anticipate it, and be thankful!

Please do not view the Season of Advent as yet another “thing” to add to your already-full schedule.  This is the year to receive the gift so — prepare to open a window or door to a  means of grace!

Are you ready for that “breath of fresh air?”  OK, from the list below, add the following dates onto your personal or family calendar:  The Season of Advent, the Season of Christmas, and the Season of Epiphany:  Those are the first three “Acts” in the our corporate reenactment of the Grand Drama of Redemption.  [I have included the entire Church Year, so that you can see it in context.]

I imagine that some of you dear friends are hesitant to continue with the Advent Lessons:  “I just do not have time; maybe next year,” I can hear you saying.  Hmmm . . . may I remind you of the Mystery of Faith?

“Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.”

The Mystery of Faith is the irreducible minimum of what Christians believe, of what we corporately believe.  Implied in the Mystery of Faith is the historical fact that Christ has come!  God with us, Emmanuel, the Incarnate God, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Savior,  the Deliverer has invaded both time and space!

The Mystery of Faith:  Christ has done all of this for us and yet we “just do not have the time” to observe the Season of Advent?

“He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”  [Romans 8.32, NEV]

All time rightfully belongs to the Triune God.  It is one of the “good things” that He graciously gives to us.  This year, receive the gift of time.  Receive the gift of grace.

Coram Deo,


The Church Year 2012

These are the major dates of the Christian Church Year for 2011 – 2012, beginning with Advent in 2011.

The Season of Advent (November 27- December 24, 2011)

First Sunday of Advent: November 27, 2011
Second Sunday of Advent: December 4
Third Sunday of Advent: December 11
Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 18

The Season of Christmas (December 25, 2011 – January 5, 2012)

Christmas Day: December 25, 2011
First Sunday of Christmas: December 25, 2011
Second Sunday of Christmas: January 1, 2012

The Season of Epiphany (January 6 – February 21, 2012)

Epiphany: January 6
Baptism of Our Lord: January 8
Transfiguration (Last Sunday in Epiphany): February 19

The Season of Lent (February 25 – April 11, 2012)

Ash Wednesday: February 22
First Sunday in Lent: February 26

Holy Week  (April 1 – April 7 [8], 2012, including Palm/Passion Sunday)

Palm/Passion Sunday: April 1
Maundy Thursday: April 5
Good Friday: April 6
Holy Saturday: April 7

The Season of Easter (April 8 – May 27, 2012, including Pentecost)

Easter Sunday: April 8
Ascension: May 17
Pentecost: May 27

Ordinary Time/Season After Pentecost (May 28 -December 1, 2012)

Trinity Sunday: June 3 (some traditions include with Pentecost)
All Saints Day: November 1
Christ the King: November 25

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Welcome to Advent Lessons & Carols!

Dear Family & Friends,

“Advent” is the season of preparation before Christmas; “Lessons” are Scripture Readings and “Carols” are Songs.  Together, “Lessons and Carols” comprise a beautiful liturgical Worship Service.  I will explain more about that history later.

Today, I am announcing the beginning of my “Advent Lessons,”  in which I will provide ON-LINE lessons in the  Art of the Reclamation of Advent.  

My qualifications:  I have successfully reclaimed the Advent Season, for six years.

Proviso:  This Series is not for everyone!  It is intended only for those who sincerely want to Recover, Reclaim, and Revision the Advent Season.

We will begin lessons next week:

~Sign up for class by “Commenting” on this entry.

~Bring a pencil/pen and college-ruled three-ring paper.  That is your first assignment.

Coram Deo,



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