The Jesse Tree was found in sacred art between the 11th and 16th centuries. It was used to represent Jesus’ ancestry, messianic prophecies, events leading to the birth of Christ. Often it was portrayed in religious illuminations, manuscripts, wall paintings, wood carvings, stone, stained glass windows, floor tiles and embroidery. The Tree of Jesse was patterned after the tree in paradise and the cross (“Tree of Life“).
Today, the Jesse Tree tells the story of God in the Old Testament, connecting Advent Season with the faithfulness of God across 4,000 years of history.
Tree of Jesse from “Hortus Delicarum: The Garden of Delights 1176-1196 CE; coloured sketch) twelfth century encyclopedia of Scripture and theology by Herrad, abbess of Hohenburg, illustrates God the Father, as Creator at the bottom and the women of Hohenburg in the top left corner
Today, as I recreate the Jesse Tree in 3 dimensions, I found myself focusing so hard on the end result that I was missing the gifts hidden in the process. I began to slow down, taking great joy in the stitching, painting and creating and so much more was revealed to me about making sacred art in general and the advent season. The gifts of waiting, watching and patience seemed just a little closer to my grasp than yesterday, but still just outside my reach. Maybe tomorrow, if I arise early, and begin again, the fresh start God grants me will be just the tink I need to develop the ability to go slow, and be present to the process, with a little less emphasis on the perfect end result.