This week we looked at the final decorations on our Jesse Tree. The writing tablet representsJohn the Baptist. He was a relative of Jesus. His birth was also miraculous, for his parents (Zechariah and Elizabeth) were too old to have children naturally. An angel appeared to Zechariah to announce they would give birth to a son and told him that his name was to be John; this baby would be a messenger who would point people to Jesus. Zechariah didn’t believe the angel at first, and so he was struck dumb and was unable to talk throughout Elizabeth’s pregnancy. When John was born and they were asked what they wanted to name him, Elizabeth said John, and Zechariah wrote that name down so the others would believe her. When he did that, he was able to talk again, because it showed he had listened to God in the end! John was known as John the Baptist, and he was a relative of Jesus who always told people that Jesus was the Lamb of God and the Messiah. He was the messenger sent ahead of Jesus to prepare the way of the Lord.

The hammer and a saw represent the carpenter, Joseph, chosen by God to be the earthly father of Jesus. Like his ancestors before him, Joseph had great faith and trust in God. Even when his fiancée, Mary, told him that she was expecting a baby and he knew he was not the father, he obeyed God’s command to take her as his wife and look after her and the baby, Jesus. He was with Mary when Jesus was born, and, when the wise men came to worship the new-born child, they found Joseph there, taking care of him. He did all that a father was supposed to do and cared for his family. Joseph was a carpenter by trade and probably taught Jesus these skills as well. During this past year, we have seen afresh the importance of key workers, people with crafts and skills, and we are grateful for the fact God has made each of us unique, all with different skills.

The flower is supposed to be a white rose (to symbolise the purity of Mary), but ours is a multi-coloured flower! Mary was just a teenager when the angel Gabriel came to her to tell her that she was highly favoured of God and would become the mother of Jesus, even though she was a virgin. Mary responded with great faith and courage and was willing to do what God wanted, even if it meant people thought she had done wrong. The flower represents her purity and obedience to God.

The star reminds us of the star that guided the wise men to where Jesus was, but ultimately, the star reminds us also that our Saviour, Jesus, is the Light of the World. Years before His birth, a prophecy was given that ‘a star will come out of Jacob’ (Numbers 24:17), and we see how God is able to use any part of His creation to point us to Jesus.

We also put a star on top of our tree!