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The Jesse Tree


Day 1


When one of my children is waiting for a long-planned event, like a birthday party or a visit from family, they will ask every morning: “Is today the day?” And when the blessed day nally arrives, I can count on hearing, at least hourly, “Is it time yet?” “When will Memaw and Grandpa get here?” “Why isn’t it two o’clock yet?” As crazy-making as this can be, it’s not that far from how the prophets, Scripture, and Christians of years past encourage us to inhabit Advent: with hungry anticipation for what God will do in our world, what God will do in us.

The name of the season, Advent, is from the Latin adventus, which means coming, or arrival. And an arrival is exactly how God chooses to deal with all that is distorted and out of joint in us and our world. God himself will arrive on the scene, a small baby born on the margins, to dwell as one of us in his creation and lift the burden of all that has gone wrong onto his own back. In Advent, we remember the longing of all creation for the coming of its Savior. We enter into that longing as we hope fervently for his second arrival, when he will nally make all things new and remain with us forever.

To help us stir up this longing together, we are offering this Jesse Tree devotional guide. We’ve designed it for use in a variety of settings: small groups, individual devotional reading, or within families. May God’s Spirit draw near us as we wait for his arrival, and give us hopeful, hungry hearts. Come, Lord Jesus!

—Sarah Dahl,
Family Ministry Team
City Church San Francisco

What is a Jesse Tree?

A Jesse Tree is an artistic depiction of Jesus’ forebears. In the middle ages, it was a sort of Bible storybook for unlettered believers: you can nd Jesse Trees in medieval carvings, stained glass, and embroideries. All of them move from the story of creation through Jesus’ birth in a series of symbols that stand in for Biblical gures. The gure of a tree also showed people how the New Testament grows organically from the Old. Today, this old art form has been revived as an Advent practice that helps us anticipate the coming Savior while recalling God’s saving deeds from the past.


Download the entire Jesse Tree Devotional

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