First! Before we start the Jesse Tree religious art devotional:
Happy feast day of Saint Nicholas!
This is always a fun feast day because it involves probably way too much candy. My kids put out their shoes last night, and lo and behold, when they woke up, little bags filled with chocolate coins filled their shoes!
My one-year-old was especially beside herself with this marvelous miracle. After realizing what was in her and her siblings’ shoes, she proceeded to look through every shoe in the entire house. By the end of her thorough search, shoes were strewn around our house in a particularly thorough manner, and I am now convinced that, when she grows up, she will be an investigator of some sorts.
In any case, Saint Nicholas was amazing. If you want to know a bunch of awesome stories about him, since he is super amazing, go to this old blog that I wrote up last year which basically explains an icon which summarizes his life. You will not regret it!
And now… the Jesse Tree!
Here is the ornament!
It’s supposed to be a sky full of a countless amount of stars, as reference to the promise that God made to Abraham. My husband, of course, saw this ornament and said, “Hey, I can count how many stars there are!”
Now, that famous imagery of God pointing to the stars with Abraham looking is almost impossible to find any classic illustrations for. It’s maddening! Which is strange because to us modern people, looking at the stars is this amazing experience. Whenever I go out into the country, I always spend an obscene amount of time staying up way too late and stargazing.
So, why isn’t it a more popular subject? I haven’t a clue! Maybe people were less thrilled with the idea of night than us modern folks? Maybe I am just using the wrong search terms? Or maybe… something else?
Another thing… there aren’t actually a lot of classic artworks of Baby Isaac???
I mean. A good chunk of the Genesis narrative revolves around Abraham and Sarah yearning for a child, yet being unable to conceive by themselves. So, when the child Isaac does come around, you would expect that there would be lots of pictures celebrating the birth of the child Isaac.
Except… that isn’t quite what I found.
Mind you, I found a couple pictures of Isaac getting circumcised. Which, honestly seems a bit of a foreshadowing… after all, Abraham is usually depicted as doing the cutting, and very soon Abraham will wield a knife toward Isaac again.
But still! the lack of cute baby pictures of Isaac was a bit startling. It got so bad that I actually stumbled on a Protestant website that was doing its best to illustrate the Old Testament with classic artwork. And they ended up using pictures of the Virgin Mary’s birth, just to have a cute sort of baby religious artwork.
But I digress!
Let’s continue with the scripture for today’s Jesse Tree readings, shall we?
God’s Promise with Abraham
Do you remember what I said about Abraham with a knife foreshadowing the next scene?
Well! Hold on to your horses, because tomorrow it’s the Sacrifice of Isaac! And trust me… there are soooo many artworks that depict that!