Second Sunday of Advent – Waiting for Peace
The Jesse Tree
The Tree of Jesse, with its symbols representing stories and events in the Old Testament is the focus this week.
The name comes from Jesse who was the Father of the great Jewish King David. One prophecy in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah, says:
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD–
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
Isaiah 11:1-4 (NIV)
Jesse Tree Reflection
A branch is a sign of new life and new beginnings. Jesus was a descendant of King David and Christians believe that Jesus is this new branch.
The first Jesse trees were large carvings, tapestries or even stained glass windows put in Churches that helped people to learn about the Bible from creation to the Christmas Story. But now Jesse Trees are used as a kind of Advent Calendar. Each day through Advent (or sometimes just on the four Sundays of advent) a special decoration or ornament that tells a story from the Bible, is hung on the tree.
The idea of the Jesse Tree is to show the family of Christ in the form of a tree that springs from Jesse, who was the father of King David. In the portrayal of the descent of Christ from the line of David there may be up to fifty characters portrayed.
The time of waiting for the coming of the Messiah is highlighted. There are many kinds of waiting – at airports, at the dentist, for the end of the school day, for Christmas Day. As Christians we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Jesus into our lives, at Mass, at Christmas. The Old Testament characters can give us courage and hope by their example.
Second Sunday of Advent
Today, as we celebrate the second Sunday of Advent, we are praying for peace.
Let us pray in this second week of Advent for the wisdom and courage to be peacemakers.
Advent Prayer for Peace
Jesus, Prince of Peace,
Transform us into witnesses
Enlighten the minds of rulers
Inflame our desires
Jesus, Prince of Peace,
Advent is a time to think of others
Times are difficult for everyone at the moment particularly the most vulnerable people in our community. This week perhaps we can help support Ireland’s largest voluntary charity, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul . They alleviate the effects of poverty on individuals and families.
Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent
The First Reading from Isaiah speaks of the God who wants to console his people; who comes to change the landscape of our lives with power and tenderness.
God speaks in a voice of peace, offering mercy, faithfulness and justice. Wherever God is present, there will be peace for all (Psalm).
St. Peter (Second Reading) reminds us that God’s time is not our own. While patiently waiting and longing for God to bring to completion all that he promises us, we are called to try to live holy lives, to live at peace with ourselves and others.
The coming of Jesus is announced by a messenger, John the Baptist, who prepares the way for the Lord as Isaiah foretold. His witness to the truth changes the lives of those who hear what he has to say (Gospel).
In this time of Advent, we ask the Lord to free us from all that would hinder our following him more closely, so that we too might be messengers of the Good News for others.
Jesse Tree Prayer
O Lord, stir up our hearts to make them ready for the coming of Your Son. Help us to become worthy to serve You. Give us pure hearts and minds. We ask this of You through Jesus our Lord. Amen.
The readings this week invite us to prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus into our lives and our hearts, both at Christmas and every day.
Advent Week One reflections here
Lots more Advent resources here