“Tree of Jesse” brings the Church into the home!

"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." [Is 11.1] 

The Jesse TreeThe Jesse TreeThe St. Juliana Society undertook a special endeavor this Nativity Season to encourage the idea of “the Church in the home.” Upon the suggestion of Archpriest Chad Hatfield, president of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, they set up a “Jesse Tree” in the foyer of the John G. Rangos Family Building.

The “Jesse Tree” is a schematic representation of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, with Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David, as the central figure. On this tree hang depictions of the ancestors of Christ in images and words, marking the days of Advent leading up to the Feast of the Nativity of Christ.

On each day of the Nativity Fast a family in the seminary community gathered at the tree to recite the assigned daily reading from Scripture and to hang a related handmade decoration on the tree. Some of the readings pointed directly to the genealogy of Christ but others presented God’s economy of salvation through the patriarchs and prophets, and were related not simply to Christ’s birth in the flesh but ultimately to the Cross, Resurrection, and glorious Second Coming of the Lord. [Readings were taken from the website of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America].

“The Jesse Tree experience held blessings for everyone who participated,” noted Seminarian Sister Margarete (Roeber), who helped organize the project.

“The children delighted in examining the ornaments, even after seeing some of them many times,” she said, “and the wonder on their faces, while circling the tree and pointing to their favorites, was a foretaste of the wonder of the Nativity of our Lord.

“For us adults,” she continued, “hearing the Old Testament stories again, and explaining them to the children, caused us to reflect on the meaning and power of these narratives in which Christ reveals himself. And, of course, everyone enjoyed singing together the Advent carols: some of the children now know these songs by heart!”

 Read some quotations from the church fathers about the “Root” or “Tree” of Jesse.