Today is the first day of Advent. Advent is a season of penance and anticipation in preparation for Christmas. Over the days of Advent, this blog will offer Scriptures and prayers according to the tradition of the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is a dead branch set up in the home. The dead branch represents Israel cut down by her enemies and also the People of God in their sins, before the coming of the Messiah. Each day of Advent, a symbol is placed on the Jesse Tree representing a person or event in the history of salvation, from Creation to Bethlehem. Scriptures are read and prayers offered appropriate for the celebration of the person or event of that day. On Christmas Even, the dead Jesse Tree is taken down and the live Christmas Tree is put up, representing new life in Christ. I invite you to join me and my family in daily Scripture readings and prayers as we journey toward Christmas.
The Jesse Tree
First Sunday of Advent: The Jesse Tree
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (11:1-9):
“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waste, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
“Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.”
Lord, our God, Advent brings the promise of redemption. Just as Israel rose again from the stump of Jesse, so have your people been raised to new life in Christ. This Advent season, we await the coming of Your Son, preparing in joy to meet Him with joy after a time of penance. Though the darkness seems deep today, we have faith that the revelation given to us in Christ has transformed already our world from one of despair and desolation to one of delight and wonder. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.