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Posts Tagged ‘Jesse tree’

Happy new liturgical year, folks. Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, and therefore the first day of the new year. In most of the English-speaking world, it was also the first day that the new translation of the Mass was compulsory.

H/T to David of Sentire Cum Ecclesia for the link to Fr Richard Healey’s electronic version of the new Missal. Fr Richard warns that it should still be regarded as a draft text, but some of you may find it useful – I’ve now got it on my (early Christmas present) new Kindle. I do love technology! I’ve also added a Bible, and have worked out how to put Universalis’ Daily Office on there (the subscription installation lets me export to a mobi file one day, one week, or one month at a time). These should help me with part of my Advent commitment – to spend more time in prayer. Penance and almsgivings are the other two parts of our preparation for Christ’s birth, His enthronement in our hearts, and His second coming.

Yesterday, I put up our Advent wreath, and the Christmas crib (just the stable and the animals so far). Getting to the Jesse Tree meant moving several large heavy objects that have accumulated in front of it since the beginning of the year; it’s on my husband’s to-do list, and I hope to put the Jesse Tree up tonight.

The first Jesse Tree story I tell the grandchildren is the story of God, the creator of the universe. The first two chapters of Genesis give us this story from a couple of different angles. I don’t want to get bogged down in the endless debate between literalists and allegorists; to me, the message is simply that God created everything there is; and everything God created is good.

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Saul attacking David - running after him with a spear

Saul attacks David

David’s brothers went to fight the Philistines, who were trying to take the land from the Israelites. When David visited them he killed the giant Goliath, and the Philistines ran away.

King Saul asked David to play for him, and he liked the music so much, he kept David with him. David sang many songs about God, because he listened to God in his heart and he loved God very much.

David became good friends with Saul’s son Jonathan. When they were grown, David and Jonathan became soldiers. David was such a good soldier that all the people cheered him. This made Saul cross. He wanted to hurt David. Jonathan helped David run away.

Saul kept trying to hurt David. David’s soldiers and Saul’s soldiers fought, but David would never hurt Saul.

When Saul died, David became king. He was a good king. Sometimes he did bad things, and sometimes he made mistakes – but he always loved God and listened to God in his heart.

David dancing in front of the ark

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Israel’s children all came to live in Egypt with their families. Joseph helped them to find houses and jobs, and they stayed in Egypt.

A long time passed, until there was a new Pharaoh who did not know about Joseph. By then there were many, many Israelites – descendants of Israel – living in Egypt.

The Egyptians made the Israelites into slaves. They had to work where the Egyptians told them to, and they didn’t get any pay. But still, the Israelites kept having more and more children, and the more Israelites there were, the more frightened the Egyptians were.

So Pharaoh ordered that all the boy babies that Israelite women had were to be killed so that none of them could grow up to fight the Egyptians.

There was a woman of the Israelites that had a little baby boy. She hid him for as long as she could, but when she couldn’t hide him any longer, her daughter Miriam took the baby and placed him in a basket made of reeds. She put the basket in the river, near where Pharaoh’s daughter bathed each day. Then she hid, and watched to see what happened.

Before long, Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river. She heard the baby crying, and sent a maid to bring the basket to her. She was delighted with the baby, and decided to keep him and call him Moses (which in Egyptian means “son”.)

Moses in the bullrushesMiriam came out of hiding and told Pharaoh’s daughter that she knew a woman who had breast milk to feed a baby. And that is how Moses came to live in the palace, being nursed by his own mother.

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In prison, Joseph was able to tell some of the other prisoners what their dreams meant. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, heard that Joseph could understand dreams. Pharaoh was having the same dream night after night. He sent for Joseph to ask what the dream meant.

First, said Pharaoh, he saw seven fat cows. Then seven lean cows came and ate the fat cows. Next, Pharaoh saw seven fat sheaves of grain. Then seven thin sheaves came and swallowed up the fat sheaves.

Joseph explained that the seven cows and the seven sheaves were seven years. First, God would send seven years of good harvests; then seven years of famine, when there would be no harvest. If the Egyptians saved in the seven fat years, they would have food to eat in the seven lean years.

Pharaoh made Joseph the boss of saving all the food that could be spared. When the famine came, Egypt was the only land that had food – and people came from far away to buy grain so that they would not starve to death.

Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt. They were surprised to see Joseph, and they were frightened that he would be angry with them because they had sold him.

Joseph said that God had sent him to Egypt so that he could save his family when the famine came. He asked all his family to come and live with him in Egypt. His father came with his twelfth son, Joseph’s little brother Benjamin, and all Joseph’s other brothers and their wives and all their children.

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Israel had 11 sons. The youngest son, Joseph, was Israel’s favourite. Israel wouldn’t let Joseph go out to work with his brothers. He kept Joseph home and gave him lots of presents.

Joseph liked to show his presents to his brothers. That did not make them like Joseph. Joseph particularly liked the fine coat his father gave him, made of many, many colours.

One day, Joseph told his brothers about his dreams. “I dream that you all bow down to me,” he said.

This made Joseph’s brothers angry.

The next day, Israel sent Joseph with a message to his brothers who were in the fields with the sheep. The brothers trapped Joseph and put him in a deep pit. Then they sold him to some traders who were passing.

Joseph being sold by his brothersThe traders took Joseph far away into Egypt, and sold him as a slave to a rich Egyptian. Joseph worked very hard. He often thought of home and wished he could be with his father.

One day, the wife of Joseph’s master asked Joseph to kiss her. Joseph would not, and she became angry. She lied to her husband and said that Joseph had tried to kiss her. The husband had Joseph sent to prison.

Things looked pretty bad for Joseph, but Joseph trusted God. He knew God had a plan for him.

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Jacob's dreamIsaac’s son Jacob was on the run. He was running from his brother Esau. Jacob had tricked his brother out of their father’s blessing, and now Esau was so angry, he wanted to kill Jacob.

So Jacob was traveling east, to the land where his grandfather Abraham was born. He was also hoping to choose a wife from his grandfather’s family.

When he reached a certain place he stopped to spend the night. He took a large stone and rested his head on it and went to sleep.

As he slept, Jacob had a dream. In his dream there was a ladder that reached from the ground all the way up to heaven. There were angels running up and down the ladder. He looked and saw God himself standing at the top of the ladder. God spoke to Jacob and told him that he was going to bless him and his people and that he would watch over him and keep him wherever he went.

When Jacob woke up he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place.” Then he took the stone he had used for a pillow and poured oil on it. He named the place Bethel, which means the house of the Lord.

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Sometimes God asks us to do things that are hard. In today’s story, we hear how God asked Abram and his wife Sarai to do something hard. He asked them to leave their town, and all their friends, and travel for many years.

In return God gave them a promise. If they obeyed Him, He would give them more children than there were stars in the sky! He gave them new names as signs of the promise – Abraham and Sarah.

For a very long time, Abraham and Sarah did not have any children. But they still loved God and they still obeyed God.

Then one day, when Abraham and Sarah were old, God told them that Sarah would soon have a baby boy. Sarah laughed. “I’m too old to have a baby,” she said. But nothing is impossible for God, and soon Sarah did have a baby boy. She called him Isaac, which means laughter. Through Isaac, Abraham was the father of all of God’s people: the Israelites, the Jews and all of us in the Church right through time – more children than there are stars in the sky.

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