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Jesse Tree Ornaments and the story of Jesus' birth

Saturday, September 22, 2012
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, why are you up in Septem-ber...
As I have been saying recently, Mrs Speech's shop has been opened. She is selling her crafty things, at which she is soooo talented. Need a day quilt? she's got you covered? Need a rag doll called Darla? Done. Christmas is practically sewn up!

See, I made a funny.

The Jesse Tree Ornaments are a unique item that Mrs Speech will be selling for Christmas. They are a visual representation of the Bible Story up to Jesus' birth.

Wikipedia defines Advent thusly:

...anglicized from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming", is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

Mrs Speech introduced me to Jesse Tree Ornaments a few years ago; a means of reflecting on the prophecies and promise of Jesus' birth without having to resort to advent calendars, filled with horrible cheap chocolate I couldn't wait to finish. When I was a kid, the (secular) lead-up to Christmas was a dread-tale of having to eat nasty chocolate. You don't want that for your family, do you???????

What they represent

So: the ornament Advent period begins on a starting day (with Mrs Speech's ornaments, it is November 29th) and culminates December 25th. You gather your family, take the ornament corresponding to the day, read the scripture associated with the ornament and hang it upon the tree, alongside your candy canes and tinsel.

Traditionally a Jesse tree is an empty bare branch, plucked from an obliging tree, stuck in a pot with some soil, and stripped of leaves.

The smaller, leaf-less branches are then decorated with ornaments. But today many families simply use their Christmas tree. Which is cool. It ends up being replete with 27 (or 25 in some cases) decorative items which say, 'hey, we're excited about Jesus' birthday.'

The ornaments

A Jesse Tree. Somehow stuck in a stump.
From Isaiah 11:1-2,

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—

The ornaments are made from high-quality felt, stitched with cotton thread and hung by wire hangers. Each ornament comes with a scripture tag, for easy cross-reference.

Mrs Speech packages them in a unique Christmas-colored cotton drawstring pouch, so they can be easily stored all-year long.

She includes a list of the daily scripture readings.

True Meaning

I love the ornaments, because I didn't grow up in a household with any Christian teaching whatsoever. I knew the (bare) basics of the Messiah story and Jingle Bells, too. I knew about Santa (a second cousin culturally to Jesus, here in Australia) and I can still recall the lines to Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

But we never related to the Biblical story of Jesus, or worshipped from the Bible. And Christmas doesn't just mean presents under the tree and 'oh it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you...'

Mrs Speech and I will be doing the ornaments this year and using it as a means to remember what Christmas is about, and as a way to get excited about the festive season.

We hope you'll join us.

Jesse Tree Ornaments can be purchased as a set of 27 with pouch for $25 plus $5 shipping. Click here for Mrs Speech's Etsy Shop.
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