The Jesse Tree — ExplodedPosted: December 22, 2009
Advent is a time for many devotions unique to the season. One such tradition is the Jesse Tree. I’d like to take this opportunity to build upon this concept. To get you in the mood, cue Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” and pretend it’s 1981.
But first, as you may know, the Tree of Jesse refers to a passage from Isaiah where the prophet describes the descent of the Messiah from Jesse of Bethlehem through his son David. We sing about this in the well-known hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” in this verse:
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
The concept of making a Jesse Tree during Advent is a relatively recent and popular children’s activity. There are various websites that teach you how to make one either at home or with a Sunday School class. There’s no “right way to do this but the basic concept is to adorn either a poster or a real tree with symbols of Biblical stories as you count down the days until Christmas.
Fine. But in my pre-Christmas haze (a blur of bulletins and sermon-writing and pastoral visits), I came up with several alternatives to the standard Jesse Tree:
Why shouldn’t the Civil Rights leader and political activist have his own devotional? He was the first African-American to run for president so he served as Forerunner to Barack Obama. How Advent appropriate is that? Sure, Al Sharpton will be jealous but I’m okay with that.
When I was a kid my favorite TV show, by far, was the Dukes of Hazzard. Growing up in suburban Baltimore, I had a lot in common with two mischievous teens from rural Georgia who drove around in a car nicknamed The General Lee.
This is nod to my Midwestern friends. When the former wrestler became Governor Ventura, they were just so proud that he had become the spokesman for the entire region. Hang a picture of tuna fish hot dish over his left bicep and we’ll be ready for Christmas in no time.
This is for the rebel that lurks deep within each one of us. The one that fantasizes about flipping over tables in the Temple and finally telling Aunt Gretchen that you really hate her fruitcake and would she please stop bringing one every year.
You may have other Jesse Tree ideas. I’m all ears. But in the meantime it’s back to Christmas Central.