Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mary Hidden in Advent-Introduction

     After several years of doing a Jesse Tree devotion, I wanted to add some more "meat" to our annual review of the story of salvation.  I decided that I wanted to add to my daily reading some comments that linked the stories to the role the Blessed Virgin Mary plays in our salvation.  This series of posts is the fruit of that effort.  I hope you will use and enjoy them in your own domestic church.

Sources for the stories:
    This series of posts uses The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean as a spine.  This book was not very interesting to my children when they were younger (under 7), but this year they seem to be enjoying it a lot.  It is not the best choice for younger children.  For the under 7 crowd, I would recommend a children's bible, while for older (than 10), I suggest reading the stories directly from a regular Bible.  Don't feel it is necessary to purchase or use The Jesse Tree to enjoy this devotion. I did add a few stories later that are not included in The Jesse Tree, such as the story of Tobias and Raphael.

Benefits I Observed:  
     The first year we did this devotion, at the Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I suddenly realized the great benefit the children were receiving as we faithfully learned a little each day about the titles of Mary.  They had already been tremendously blessed by Meredith Henning's lovely book, Mondays with Mary , and so had been exposed to many of the titles of Our Lady from the Litany of Loreto.  As we read through the stories of salvation and linked them to some of Our Lady's titles and roles, they were getting a deeper picture.  They were being exposed to the typology of the Church and to the reality of St. Augustine's idea that " the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New." (CCC #129).  I was pleasantly impressed with their understanding of Fr.'s homily, which referred to Mary as the New Eve, a perpetual virgin, and several other ideas we had discussed at home.

How to do each lesson:

     This is what we do for each day:

          1) Read story/bible story. Put up your Jesse Tree
              ornament if you wish to do that.
          2) Read the "comments" for the day.
          3) Look at the picture of Our Lady and discuss the 
              title very briefly.
          4) Hang Marian ornament.  (If I need to make an
              ornament, we do that at another time.)
          5) Say the prayer.

That's it!  Short and sweet! I would recommend doing just a regular Jesse Tree devotion for a year or two before adding in the Marian element. In this way, the children can learn and understand the stories from Scripture first, and then they can add to that understanding a further knowledge of how Mary fits into the plan of salvation.  The extra information in each post can be used as a lovely meditation for adults, or it could also be used for more in-depth study for older students.  I haven't checked out all the posts on every site I link to, so you might want to preview them for yourself before assigning them to your students.

summary chart of each days readings, Bible reference, ornament, and Marian title is available for you to download.

For the ornaments, see the separate post on ornaments! Thanks!



  1. What a beautiful idea for deepening the Jesse Tree tradition! Thanks, Caroline.

  2. Thanks for sharing these plans. My last two are older and I wasn't going to do a Jesse tree with them again this year, but this is a lovely alternative.

  3. I tried to click on the "summary chart" mentioned above, but received a message that I was not allowed to view the page :(

  4. cathmomofsix, I sent you an email with the chart. Hope you can print it out!