Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Children's Jesse Tree Index

Above are a few sample ornaments from my collection below.
       The practice of crafting a Jesse tree for the purpose of sharing the family of Christ with young children began in the Medieval Era. Many stained glass windows and illuminated texts still survive with detailed illustrated Jesse trees depicted in them. 
       Jesse trees are taken from two biblical records of Jesus's genealogy. Although those Jesse trees used in classrooms and homes to teach young children are shortened versions of the biblical records. The first is from Joseph's side of the family in The Gospel of Matthew. The second, from Mary's family genealogy (Calmet;Watson) in The Gospel of Luke. Both of Jesus's Earthly parents were from the house of David and they share 34 common forefathers out of 75 generations. (Allen, below)
Jesse Tree from a Folio, 1529.
       I have included below a template for how traditional Jesse trees are taught, practiced, and developed. Hopefully this model will help people to understand why Jesse trees look a bit different from church to church and publisher to publisher. 
       Among Orthodox Christians, there is a day of introduction, two weeks of telling stories about David's ancestral lineage which is the same as Christ's, a third week is spent telling the story of the Nativity and the last week, is devoted to the "O" Antiphons, Dec. 17 - 23. 
       Many Protestant denominations stretch out the telling of Old Testament stories for three weeks and simply end the last week of December with the Nativity story.
       If you should develop a calendar that covers only one person or story a day, you will soon discover that many characters get eliminated. If your church follows the Orthodox Liturgy, you will begin to see that their Jesse trees sometimes reflect a rotation of Old Testament ancestors and stories that compliments a three year liturgical calendar.
       Modern Jesse trees often include women from the family of Christ. This is not a new idea; The Gospel of Matthew includes women in Jesus' family tree from the very start. Some scholars have noted that these four: Tamar, Rehab, Ruth and Bathsheba are introduced to readers in Matthew's gospel because they were Gentiles. 
      Sarah, Rebekah and Leah were also ancestors of Jesus yet they are seldom seen on modern Jesse trees for some strange reason. Some folks have begun to practice the inclusion of couples in their daily readings around their Jesse tree. As long as the practice is in keeping with basic doctrine, you may construct your own Jesse tree using as many symbols and characters from the ancestors of Jesus as you like.
       The symbols associated with the characters generally have scriptural references and are often included in artworks about those persons depicted in: illuminated manuscripts, paintings, stained glass windows, sculptures, reliefs etc... throughout all of Christendom.
       In the near future, I intend to include links to those Jesse tree symbols and patterns from my blogs for personal or non-profit use through the listing below. Each of these posts will also list the scriptures used to teach each symbol and photos of completed ornaments.

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD" Isaiah 11:1-2

Day of Introduction: The Sunday Prior to December 1rst:
    The Old Testament Characters Wait for Jesus: First 2 Weeks of December: If you are following a calendar, you will need to pick and choose stories to include or exclude. The characters below are typically included on many trees of Jesse at this present time. Not all of the ancestors of Jesus are included in this listing. More names and symbols will be added over time. Many characters have optional symbols associated with their lives.
    1. God The Creator: planets, stars, creation elements, Earth, garden, animals, sun
    2. Adam The First Man/Men: spade, tree, apple with snake, man, apple
    3. Eve The Mother of All Humanity: tree, apple, apple with snake, woman
    4. Seth Remembered God: mirror 
    5. Noah Who Obeyed God: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
    6. Shem Son of Noah: grapes for wine
    7. Abraham Our Spiritual Father: torch, sword, mountain, empty sandals
    8. Sarah Mother to A Nation: angel visitors (*suggested)
    9. Isaac Accepted The Sovereignty of God: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush, ram
    10. Rebekah a Woman With Godly Character: camel, fighting twins (*suggested)
    11. Jacob Father of 12 Tribes: kettle, ladder, staircase 
    12. Rachel The Favored Wife: surrounded by children (*suggested)
    13. Joseph Protector of Israel: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic or colorful coat
    14. Moses Saved His People from Slavery: baby in basket, river and rushes, burning bush, sandals
    15. Israelites The People of God: sheep
    16. Joshua "Jesus son of Naue": ram's horn trumpet, walls of Jericho (no wife listed)
    17. Rahab The Brave: red rope
    18. Gideon a Great Warrior: clay water pitcher, fleece
    19. Samuel Dedicated to The Temple: lamp, temple
    20. Ruth Faithful and Devoted: wheat, basket, wedding rings
    21. Boaz The Kinsman Redeemer: shoe (*suggested)
    22. Obed The Father of Jesse: seed (*suggested)
    23. Jesse Son of Obed and Father of King David: crimson robe, shepherd's staff
    24. David Son of Jesse and Anointed King of Israel: slingshot, 6-pointed star  - star of David, David's crown
    25. Solomon Wise Among Men: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
    26. Elijah Who Will Return: stone altar, fiery chariot
    27. Hezekiah Held Fast to The Lord: empty tent
    28. Esther Rescued Her People: scepter
    29. Isaiah Preached The Coming of Messiah: fire tongs with hot coal, an "I" scroll
    30. Jeremiah The Weeping Prophet: tears of the prophet, a "J" scroll
    31. Ezekiel Had Millennial Temple Visions: an "E" scroll
    32. Habakkuk Waited On The Lord: stone watchtower
    33. Nehemiah Rebuilt God's Defenses: city wall
    34. Jonah Special Delivery by God: whale, fish 
    The Nativity Story Week: The Third Week in December: The third week's ornaments represent both the family of Jesus, the story of his birth and those who are related to Christ spiritually, i.e. the descendants of Abraham.
    1. Joseph Protector of The Messiah: hammer, saw, chisel, angle, carpenter's tools or the tools of a stone mason, L square
    2. Mary The Virgin Mother: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart, white lily, simple heart
    3. Bethlehem the City Where Jesus Was Born: city or village buildings
    4. Elizabeth Mother of The Baptist: holding infant St. John, pregnant elderly woman, a mother and child 
    5. Zechariah The Lord Has Remembered: temple building, holding a stone with eye on each of its faces, pencil and tablet
    6. John the Baptist and The Voice Crying Out in The Desert: shell, shell with water, river 
    7. Magi Represent Gentile Kings/Nations: gold, frankincense, myrrh, gold star
    8. Shepherds The Keepers of God's Flock: sheep, shepherd's staff
    9. Baby Jesus God's Gift of Mercy: manger, swaddled babe, natal star
    10. Angels Messengers From God: angels
    The Jesus Is Week: The Fourth Week in December: The symbolic ornaments crafted for the fourth week of December are typically made from Chrismon patterns.
    1. Jesus is Wisdom: oil lamp, open book
    2. Jesus is Lord: burning bush, stone tablets
    3. Jesus is the Flower of Jesse: flower, plant with flower
    4. Jesus is Key of David: key, broken chains
    5. Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: sun rising or high in sky
    6. Jesus is King of Gentiles: crown, scepter
    7. Jesus is Emmanuel: tablets of stone, chalice and host
    8. Jesus is Light of the World: candle, flame, sun, Epiphany star or natal star
     (*suggested) - No visual emblem or symbol found or visual emblems not identified in historical art works, only literary symbols 

    Many of  The Sample Ornaments are Made From Baker's Clay       
           I will be making a set of Jesse ornaments from baker's clay to illustrate the collection above. The recipe I am using includes: 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 1/2 cups of hot water. Dissolve most of the salt in boiling water or as much as you can, before adding in the flour. Knead the dough thoroughly before rolling it out and cutting around the patterns provided for each symbol above. The ornaments should be approximately 1/4 inch thick. Dry the ornaments out in a low temp. in your oven. (This takes two to three hours.) If the oven gets too hot the clay will puff up.
           Once the ornaments have dried completely, spray these with a clear matte finish. Then the surface will be ready for painting. I will use acrylic, water based paints to decorate my Jesse tree ornaments, and afterwards spray the finished ornaments with another layer of clear matte finish.
           Don't forget to either prick a small hole into the clay or add a small hook into the side of the ornament in order to hang your ornament!

    Mixing the essential baker's clay by curiosity show.

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