The Institute for Christian Formation
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Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
December 1, 2015
The first reading for Mass today is Isaiah 11:1-10.  This reading is about the shoot, or root, of Jesse.  Jesse was the father of King David.  Jesus was born of the House of David, and therefore Jesse is an ancestor of Jesus.  We can read the human genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17.

After reading today's Scripture passage from Jesse, begin an Advent project based on the genealogy of Jesus.  You could make an actual Jesse Tree by taking a bare tree branch and for each remaining day of Advent creating an ornament for it representing one of Jesus' ancestors.  Or, if you don't want to set up a tree branch, you could begin a Jesse Tree Scrap Book, with a page each day focusing on one of Jesus' ancestors.  For each page you could draw a picture, or write a poem, or summarize a Bible story about this person.

There are numerous resources available in print and on line to assist you with making a Jesse Tree.  Our Sunday Visitor has coloring pages online with Jesse Tree symbols you can color and cut out. Loyola Press also has Jesse Tree information on line. There are many other resources available, as well.  But you might want to rely on your own creativity.  Read Bible stories about Jesus' ancestors listed in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus, and come up with your own ideas for Jesse Tree symbols.

Today's Scripture passage is a very rich one.  Can you name the gifts of the Holy Spirit?  Today's passage is the source of the traditional names of these gifts of the Spirit.  Today's
Forefather Jesse
Theophanes the Cretan
16th Century
Stavronikita Monastery,
Mt. Athos
reading also gives us that beautiful image of Paradise restored, with the wolf being the guest of the lamb and the baby playing by the cobra's den.  This would be another lovely image to draw today.  As an individual, a family project, or a classroom assignment, why not create a picture or a mural of Paradise restored, based on Isaiah 11:6-9?
A book recommendation for today is "The Jesse Tree," written by Geraldine McCaughrean and illustrated by Bee Willey.  This book is published by Eerdmans, and the ISBN is 978-0-8028-5288-5. In this book a young boy comes across a man carving a Jesse Tree in an old church, and the boy's curiosity paves the way for the man to tell him the tradition of the Jesse Tree as well as stories from the Hebrew Scriptures.  If your local library doesn't have this book, you can purchase it on line in either hardcover or paperback.

As a special treat for today, perhaps you could make a cake and decorate it with a Jesse Tree, or a wolf and lamb.  Or check out how creative one person became in making Jesse Tree cookies.