First Week of Advent: Once again, this Advent, our parish will have a Jesse tree, which will be displayed in the niche in the Gathering space. A Jesse tree is a small tree decorated with symbols portraying Jesus’ spiritual heritage. Learning the history told to us in the Old Testament helps give us a better understanding of what and why we are celebrating: the promise of the second coming of Christ. The first Jesse tree symbol is a dove, reminding us of the peace and harmony of creation as God intended it to be. How can you bring peace and harmony back into your life? Genesis 1: 1-31 The apple represents Adam and Eve and original sin. Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins restoring humanity to God’s grace. What kinds of things do you do that make God unhappy? Genesis 3: 1-19. Noah’s ark reminds us that, although God was displeased with the wickedness of the men and women He created, He also sees the best in us and renews His covenant with us through forgiveness and mercy. The rainbow is a sign of that covenant. Can you name a promise that God has kept? Genesis 6: 11-22, 9: 8-13. A string of stars symbolizes God’s promise to Abraham, the heir of our faith, whose descendants became the chosen people of God. Can you name a promise that you have kept? Haven’t kept? Genesis 15:1-6.
Second week of Advent: God delivered the commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai and Moses brought the tablets - and the commandments - back to his people. The ornament depicts the tablets on which the commandments were written. What rules do you find hard to follow? How do rules help our society? Exodus 19:1-20:26. We hang a trumpet on the Jesse tree to represent the time God instructed Joshua to blow the ram’s horn, and the walls around the besieged city of Jericho crumbled at the sound. What are the walls that keep you from God? Joshua 1:1-11, 6:1-20 The crown signifies the story of Samuel, Son of Eli, who was repeatedly called by God. When at last he recognized the Lord’s call, he adhered to it without fail, and proclaimed the coming of Christ the King who would have dominion over all earthly kings. What is God calling you to do? 1 Samuel 8:1-22. The Star of David serves to remind us of the great king, David. David was first a shepherd of livestock, but when God called him to lead the nation of Israel; he became a shepherd of people to help them become what God wanted them to be. Kings protect their people, like shepherds protect their sheep. Whom does God trust you to take care of? 2 Samuel 5: 1-5.
Third week of Advent: The lion from the den where Daniel was imprisoned, is hung on the tree this third week of Advent. It’s not easy to prove your love for God. Like Rahab it would have been easier to deny God but Daniel refused to stop worshipping his God. He trusted in God and God repaid his love by saving him. The God of Daniel is ‘the Living God which endures forever, his sovereignty will never be destroyed and his kingship never ends’. When have you denied God? Daniel 6: 17-24 Jonah was one of God’s prophets but he ran away rather than do what God has asked him. Even though Jonah was trying to run away from God, God saved him from the storm by arranging that a whale would swallow Jonah. Jonah prayed to God and the whale released Jonah to the shore. Jonah went to Nineveh and did God’s work: the people of Nineveh heard his words and repented their evil behavior. When God saw this he forgave them and did not punish them. When has God saved you? Jonah 2: 1-11 A pregnant Mary travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who has conceived a child in old age through a miracle. The child in her womb, John the Baptist, leaps with joy when Mary arrives. Our ornament celebrates the motherhood shared by these women. When have you felt God’s presence near? Luke 1:39‐56. John the Baptist proclaims the coming of a new savior and renewed life for all through the repentance of sins. The ornament today features a sea shell, a traditional symbol of baptism. John the Baptist told them he baptized them with water but One was coming who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. When we are baptized it is a sign that we have joined the family of God and have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. How do you share your gifts with others? Luke 3: 1‐20
Fourth week of Advent: Mary, full of grace and love, is symbolized by a Heart. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be filled with the Holy Spirit and would give birth to a son, Jesus. God chose Mary to be Jesus’ mother and she accepted the task with a joyful heart. Even though she knew what was being asked of her would be difficult, Mary loved and trusted God and was willing to serve Him. When have you been asked to do something “impossible?” Luke 1:26-38. Joseph, a carpenter (symbolized by the hammer), was visited by the Angel of the Lord in a dream and told that Mary had conceived a child through the Holy Spirit, who would be the Savior of the world and bring salvation to all. When Joseph woke up, he knew that he and Mary were a part of God’s plan and that he would be a good father to Jesus. How are you a part of God’s plan? Matthew 1: 18-25. The sheep represent the shepherds, who were keeping the night watch over their flock, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to them and instructed them to witness the miracle of this Child’s birth, to show homage, and to spread the good news. How do you spread the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ? Luke 2: 8-20. The Angel of the Lord appeared to both Joseph and the Shepherds, to tell them of the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us praise God for keeping his promises throughout the generations and join with the Angels’ message to the Shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” How can you show glory to God? Luke 2:8-14.
11144 Spinner Avenue, Sharonville, Ohio 45241 (513) 563-6377 Office | (513) 554-3543 Fax Fr. Ed Burns, Pastor
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Friday; 8:30 a.m.-Noon Other times available by appointment.