Not Just a Tree

July 24th, 2011
Image © | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

One of the highlights for me during the Advent season is the Chrismon Tree.

A Chrismon Tree is an evergreen tree decorated with chrismons, or Christ-monograms. Chrismons are ornaments in the shape of symbols of the Christian faith. They are white (a color that symbolizes purity), and decorated with gold ribbon, beads, or glitter (a symbol of majesty). One reason chrismons are so special is they are often handmade by people in your church! A great intergenerational activity is to invite everyone in the church to come make chrismons together. Chrismon Trees can be set up in your worship space, sanctuary or anywhere they can be enjoyed.

Another option, and one that might be even better in churches where entire families are new to the faith, is to plan to have a Jesse Tree. 

"The Jesse Tree is a tree of the symbols, that help us focus on the true meaning of Advent, the true preparation for the coming of Christ, and what that really means to us. Some families or churches put one symbol for each day of Advent on the Jesse Tree, which helps maintain the focus on the holiness of the season. Others put just a few symbols on the Jessee Tree as a symbolic representation of Jesus' lineage.

Some people think of the Jesse Tree as Jesus' family tree. After all, the term Jesse Tree comes from the name of the father of the great king of Israel, King David, Jesse. It is from the line of David (therefore of Jesse) that the Messiah was to come." from Symbols of Faith: teaching Images of the Christian Faith For Intergenerational Use

Regardless of whether you have a Chrismon Tree or a Jesse Tree, it is important to take time to help everyone understand what the symbols mean. We live in a world surrounded by symbols, images, and pictures which communicate in ways beyond words. Symbols of our Christian faith, once understood, can be very meaningful for faith development and spiritual formation for people of all ages. 

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