O Come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s Stem…on the Jesse Tree

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen Sr. Annella left St. Anne’s some years ago, I inherited her job of leading a weekly ecumenical Bible Study for our residents.  Attendance any given week usually ranges from eight to thirteen people of various Christian faith traditions.

A tradition I inherited (and further developed) from Sr. Annella is that of the Jesse Tree.  She had cut out green leaf/branches with names of prominent figures in salvation history written on them.  she had a little type-written prayer service as well.  A couple of years ago, Shelly (our activity directer) and I made a felt-board for these leaf/branches.

I printed up a little booklet with the texts of hymns, prayers, and readings from Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, etc., which shared a brief story of salvation history leading up to Christ’s coming.

Now, every year. we use it for a Bible Study in mid-December.  The residents get to be engaged in reading, singing, and putting up the branches with Velcro.  I hope they enjoy it as much as I do, and for the feedback I’ve received, I think they do like it.  I have to explain who Jesse was, though.  This reminds me of a verse from the beloved Advent hymn: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” which refers to King David’s father.  One English text renders it:

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust Thy mighty power to save,
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

christmas (7).JPGI am always touched by the beautiful experience of celebrating ‘the Jesse Tree’ with our residents.

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