Roots of Jesse – Guest Edition

An Older Symbol of Advent

What is the Jesse Tree? ~ by Winter

December 23, 2017 – Third Saturday of Advent

11 “A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” ~ Isaiah 11:1 (NRSVACE)

Jesse was the father of King David. The ornaments of the Jesse tree represent the prophecies, God’s people, and events that led up to the birth of Jesus.

When I was a child every December my dad would put up the Christmas Tree and we would decorate with very cute ornaments, I didn’t think much about the ornaments at the time. There were pretty little harps, an apple, ark, dove etc. As I grew older and attended bible class I made the connection that the ornaments we decorated our Christmas Tree with symbolized the stories and characters of the Old Testament. During the Advent season, we are called to wait and prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. Like in everything in life we need to prepare. You might question yourself, ‘How can I prepare for this momentous event?’ or maybe, ‘What do I do first in order that I will be prepared adequately?’ As a child, my dad taught me our faith, what we needed to do to be prepared. In fact, from an early age, I remember thinking deeply about the events of the bible and how the Bible tells us the stories of preparation that the people of God underwent while waiting for His miracles to be fullfilled.

Other memories I have during Advent was going to church every Sunday and listening to the priest remind the whole community to pray, repent, forgive so we can receive Jesus Christ; receive His precious gifts of hope, peace, joy, and of love. As practicing  Catholics and followers of Christ we are called to share those gifts with the rest of the world, so that way our world of jealousy and gossip can come to an end. God made a promise to Abraham’s family that He would bless his family and would always protect them. We follow God because He is the only one that will give us what we need when we feel alone, sad, depressed, hurt, or upset. God comforts us and He protects us just as He did Abraham’s many descendants. Advent is a time to really think about these things; to take the lessons of the Old Testament and apply them to our lives today. Each time I do this I can see how much in common we are with the characters found in the bible.

As a teacher myself I am always humbled and reminded how much my kids at school are like I was when I was their age, they ask the same questions such as, “but it is hard to follow Jesus’s steps” I always remind them that, “Yes, no one said it was easy and for Jesus himself it was not easy. But what we need to do is to be in constant prayer so we can always choose God.” After saying this another student said, “Advent is about change.” Smiling I encouraged that thought with,  “Yes, during Advent we are called to change and renew our hearts just like God’s people from the Old Testament.”

When we decide to choose God we receive many blessings from Him. That is why the Jesse Tree is another important symbol for the Advent Season; so the kids can understand that each ornament is much more than just decoration, instead, it is the family tree of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Powerful Teaching Tool: You might want to go over your own chronological family tree with your kids at home. Using this model they will begin to relate it to the family of Jesus.

Jesse Tree symbols and passages in the Old Testament were designed to show how the coming of Jesus had been predicted hundreds of years before his birth fulfilling them within the New Testament. When decorating your tree beginning on the first day of Advent place the first ornament. Each day after that in order until Christmas Eve until each ornament is on the tree. Below are the symbols traditionally used to put on the Jesse Tree;

  1. Adam and Eve – Ornament: Tree with Fruit or Apple
  2. Noah – Ornament: Rainbow or Ark
  3. Abraham – Ornament: Field of Stars
  4. Isaac – Ornament: Ram
  5. Jacob – Ornament: Ladder
  6. Joseph – Ornament: Coat of Many Colors
  7. Moses – Ornament: Burning Bush
  8. The Israelites – Ornament: Lamb
  9. Moses and Aaron – Ornament: Tablets of the Torah
  10. Joshua – Ornament: Ram’s Horn Trumpet
  11. Samuel – Ornament: Crown
  12. David – Ornament: Shepherd’s Crook or Harp
  13. Hezekiah – Ornament: An Empty Tent
  14. Isaiah – Ornament: Fire Tongs with Hot Coal
  15. Jeremiah – Ornament: Tears
  16. Habakkuk – Ornament: Stone Watchtower
  17. Nehemiah – Ornament: City Wall
  18. John the Baptist – Ornament: Scallop Shell
  19. Mary – Ornament: White Lily
  20. Elizabeth – Ornament: Mother and Child
  21. Zechariah – Ornament: Pencil and Tablet
  22. Joseph – Ornament: Carpenter’s Square or Hammer
  23. Jesus – Ornament: Manager
  24. Christ – Ornament: Chi-Rho

Christmas Traditions of the Jesse Tree  Click Here

The Jesse Tree – Loyola Press  Click Here

Amen, Alleluia!

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2017


Invitation to Pray: Prayer When in Distress

Prayer When in Distress

A psalm of David when he fled from his son Absalom

“O Lord, so many are against me. So many seek to harm me. I have so many enemies.  2 So many say that God will never help me. 3 But Lord, you are my shield, my glory, and my only hope. You alone can lift my head, now bowed in shame.  4 I cried out to the Lord, and he heard me from his Temple in Jerusalem.  5 Then I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely, for the Lord was watching over me.  6 And now, although ten thousand enemies surround me on every side, I am not afraid. 7 I will cry to him, ‘Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!’ And he will slap them in the face, insulting them and breaking off their teeth.  8 For salvation comes from God. What joys he gives to all his people.” ~ Psalm 3:1-8

~ Pray Silently ~

Oh Lord, it is to you that I pray.  It is to you I hang all of my hopes and fears upon, for it is only you who truly knows my heart.  Lord, I call out to you as my redeemer; as my savior; for you have never left me when everyone else has abandoned me.  Oh Lord, I know you see my struggles, my hardships, and all my difficulties I have endured.  I know you have been there with me because I can feel you every moment of every day.  Though my head is bowed, and I am weak from the fight, I have your assurance I will prevail.  Though there are many who would bring me low, I have your promise that in that hour you will lift me high upon your shoulders.  You will keep watch over me when I sleep and vanquish all who would come after me in the darkest of night. Oh my Lord, My God, with these truths I have no reason to fear or be in any distress, for you are with me and I am with you.  For you give me your divine peace and holy security and it is through this I know I am truly saved.  In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen ~ Brian Stark (2014, Jan. 16)

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Special Prayer for a Sibling In Need

The special connection one has for a parent or sibling is certainly one that should be founded upon honor and love. It is these special people in your life which you truly spend your entire life with, through good and bad, richer or poor, and in sickness and good health. Thus it is the will of God that we move mountains for each other when we are asked to or when it is needed. For it was that Jesus treated everyone like this, he loved everyone, and cared about all of us equally. He even went to such lengths as to call us His brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God. Therefore, when one of our brothers and sisters in Christ is in need we need to come to their call in every manner; with every special talent we have to answer that call.  So with this in mind I want to offer to this world community:  “Sisters and Brothers”,  I have created here with Listening Faithfully an opportunity to come together and send a special prayer for one of my brothers in Christ Jesus who’s sister has Leukemia and is fighting a good fight, running the race to the end. Please pray for my brother Neil McCarthy, and his sister Leslie Frankenheimer who has been at The City Of Hope Hospital since Thursday, September 27, 2012 and all their family during these trying times. I ask that you pray for his sister as she endures the medical treatment to save her life. So I ask everyone to pray twice tonight, and twice tomorrow, this special prayer;


Lord God in heaven, we pray to you through your son Jesus Christ, we ask that you hear our cry’s and our words of concern for this remarkably caring and beautiful woman who has served you by being a loving and devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, and mentor to all that Leslie Frankenheimer has known and loved. Lord God in Heaven we call on you in this hour when dark clouds gather, we call on you to light our darkest day, Lord we as a community of the faithful call upon you to give us hope; to shine your light of love so our path is less dim, thus we call on you. Lord; My God; I know you are with me; I know you are with Leslie and her entire family and friends; and I also know that you hear all of our prayers. Lord; I also know we can count on you when no-one else will answer; Oh’ God of love it is you who is responsible for giving us a reason to go on despite our cup of joy sometimes has become a cup of sorrow; Lord it is you that we call. Lord we humbly ask you  to place a calming hand upon Leslie and her family, let them now proclaim your goodness within this time of trouble and hardship, let everyone see your glory, your blessing, your wisdom, and your forgiveness, and good works as you transform Leslie’s soul and mold her to be more like you as you prepare the table before her. Lord I ask for your voice to be heard in the hearts of all who pray this prayer on behalf of Leslie’s sake, as we all pray these words that had been joyfully shouted out by your servant King David:

1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice  goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” ~ Psalm 19:1-4

Lord we ask for your healing hand to be extended upon my brothers sister Leslie Frankenheimer and that you are there with her holding her hand,  reassuring her, building her up, showing her your path as you gently guide her through the rest of her journey. Please Oh’ God take away all her fear and doubt, rescue her completely with a full recovery that which is complete in your most powerful grace. It is to you Oh Lord; God in Heaven; Father Almighty that we turn, that we pray this prayer of healing and of recovery. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

While praying this prayer feel free to say “I” in place of “we” and “my” in the place of “our” where appropriate, but please do pray.

As always if you have been moved by this prayer, I invite you to leave a comment to show your support to my two sisters and their family.


Special Prayer Request: October 2012

Prayer Request for Parents of Parental Alienation Syndrome: If you are a parent and have children which have been kept from you by the Primary Parent, then you know personally the pain and anguish that not just accompanied the divorced you suffered through, but also the pain and anguish of a no contact policy with your children because of an alienating parent. You know the tragic pain that the courts and unethical lawyers can inflict upon your family. The following prayer goes out to all parents who have suffered these inhuman and unjust policies and for all the children who loose one parent through this unholy process. Let God hear our prayers for our children’s sake :


“Dear Lord in heaven, you know the pain caused by isolation, derogation of a parents life, and of our values that you have handed down to all of use equally. Lord you know the evils in peoples hearts that seek to destroy the family unit and then pretend they have done so in your name. Lord, God in heaven I know you can feel how horrified alienated parents are when told they will no longer play a major role in their children’s lives. I pray you give them strength to endure such hardships, and wrongful accusations. Lord, God in Heaven I pray you give then wisdom to know what to say and for it to never be said in anger. Lord, God in heaven I ask that you bring peace to their hearts, minds, and souls so that they are no longer burdened with this miserable yoke that they have been forced to carry. Lord, please unshackle their lives and give them meaning once more. I also ask for our children’s hearts not be hardened by bitter fighting, and by being forced to choose one parent over another. Lord you know all our children need both parents equally and that any law which gives more time to one parent is simply violating your heavenly command. Please, Lord free our children of this unfair yoke which has been placed upon them by selfishness and cruelty and deliver them into your abiding love forever.  ” Amen…

May the Lord Be with all alienated parents and be also with you until your last days here on this Earth.  Amen

Please show your support for all the alienated parents and their children who they have been kept from against their will by placing this prayer on your Facebook Wall. Thank you.

Follow Listening Faithfully Facebook and Listening Faithfully Community Facebook Page by clicking the links provided!

Help Support Listening Faithfully by getting the word out to all you know and by sending this link to all your family and friends in the Spirit of God the Father. Then make a commitment to pray this prayer this Sunday, November 4, 2012 for all those parents and children who are facing the unjust courts this upcoming week and month.


Special Prayer For a Special Family

The word “Family” was created from a need to describe a special grouping of people that love and care for one-anther.  Thus, it is no wonder then that Jesus used the word to describe how he feels about all of us, and was the driving force behind his glorious sacrifice at Calgary.  In many ways we are all connected, we are one despite from where we come. So with this in mind I want to offer to this world community:  “Family”,  I have created here with Listening Faithfully an opportunity to come together and send a special prayer for two of my sisters whom I hold very dear to my heart, friends whom I have both taught with at school, have seen them both grow in the field of teaching, and sadly today have a special need in their life. I ask that you pray for their father whom tomorrow will undergo surgery. I have been asked to not reveal their last name, nor the nature of the surgery, but I am going to say that it does indeed require many prayers from all of us here at Listening Faithfully.  So I ask everyone to prayer twice tonight, and twice tomorrow, October 4, 2012 this special prayer;

Lord God in heaven, we pray to you through your son Jesus Christ, we ask that you hear our cry’s and our words of concern for a man who has been a loving, devoted father, husband, and mentor to all who have known him. We ask that your loving hand is upon him tomorrow during his surgery and that you bless his family with love, grace, and acceptance for what may transpire, always knowing that they are stronger in your abiding love.  Lord let them be calmed by these words long ago whispered by your servant David, The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.’ ~ Psalm 41:3  Lord we ask for your healing hand to be extended upon my two sisters father Clemente and that you are there with him holding his hand reassuring him, building him up, and taking away all fear and doubt, and that his recovery is complete in your most powerful ways. It is to you Oh Lord, God in Heaven, Father Almighty that we turn, that we pray this prayer of healing and of courage. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

While praying this prayer feel free to say “I” in place of “we” and “my” in the place of “our” where appropriate, but please do pray.

As always if you have been moved by this prayer, I invite you to leave a comment to show your support to my two sisters and their family.