St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Another Advent reading: Isaiah 11:1-10Isaiah 11:1-10A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots; The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall bein the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness she shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lip she shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze, and their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the
waters cover the sea.
Make A Jesse Tree
If your children – or even you, yourself, find the thematic readings a little too abstract, you might try this. My own children loved it when they were growing up. It’s simply a lifeless, dry branch on which are hung, each day, a new paper ornament. At Christmas, it is replaced by the ever-green tree full of lights. It’s a way of re-telling in short, simple stories, the major events in the story of salvation from creation to the birth of Jesus. You can buy or download any number of pre-constructed sets of ornaments. Just google, “Jesse Tree.” Jesse, of course, comes from today’s reading: Jesse of whom came David the king, whose line died out, but the prophesy suggests that a righteous king will come “out from the stump of Jesse.” What was dead will live again. Christians have interpreted that “shoot” or “branch” as Jesus the king.
But if you do it, take it easy. My own girls made our own ornaments over several years, adding to them as we had time or inclination. No need to rush. We had the basic stories the first year, and added others, so that eventually we had enough for the entire season. They are very special now – saved and laminated. But one or two a week is fine to start with. Let the children make them, though, however they want. They began with creation by making a picture of a globe with a hand writing it into reality. It wasn’t my idea. It came from a child. We also hung up more women than the commercial sets – Rahab, Ruth, Deborah and Rebecca, for example. You’re making a sort of family tree. You choose. Noah, Abraham (and Sarah), Moses, King David of course, and eventually, Joseph and Mary. It does help children to see the stories as part of a whole story that leads up to the birth of Jesus. If it seems too complicated, or if you don’t have time – let it go! You might still read those stories, though, when you light your candles.