On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, four more symbols will be added to the Jesse Tree by the children. These recall the story of our ancestors in faith. They also recall the covenant between God and us, a covenant sealed through the fulfilment of God’s promise of a Messiah. In Advent we prepare to celebrate the Messiah’s birth in the Christmas season, as well as for our Messiah’s return at the end of time.
David. David is remembered as the great king of the people of Israel in the Old Testament times. The Messiah who is promised is said to be of the line of King David. Joseph, the husband of Mary was a descendant of David, and thus makes complete the promise of Jesus, the Messiah born of David’s line.
Mary. Mary, of course, is the mother of Jesus. She accepts God’s will and commits herself not only to being the mother of Christ, but also to enduring the suffering and sadness that will eventually come as she watches her son die. She remains with the disciples after the resurrection.
Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the cousin of Mary and the mother of John the Baptist. It is Elizabeth’s pregnancy that is cited as proof of God’s will and his desire for Mary to be the mother of Jesus. Mary visits Elizabeth during her pregnancy; Elizabeth greets Mary with words that we use to this day in the Hail Mary.
Joseph. Joseph is chosen to marry Mary and act as father to Jesus. Despite early doubts, he is spoken to in a dream and is committed from that point forward to fulfil his role in the life of Jesus.
In Children’s Liturgy of the Word, each child will receive their own copies of these symbols. Take the time to share and discuss these with your children. Read some of the bible stories. Perhaps you can set up your own Jesse Tree at home as a preparation for Christmas.