STATE COLLEGE, PA — During the penultimate day of the 2012 Holy Trinity Vacation Bible School (VBS) the children got back to the roots–the roots of Jesus Christ.
Before assembling into their learning, the day started once again with a delicious and nourishing meal. Once gathered, the VBSers discovered that there is a continuous ancestral line from the forefathers of the Old Testament to the birth of Jesus, the promised Messiah. The lesson emphasized that God’s plan for salvation was fulfilled in Jesus Christ and His ancestral line was highlighted by having the students create a small “Jesse tree”.
The second instructional session of the day focused on the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem to take part in the census as decreed by Caesar Augustus (everyone had to return to their own town to complete the census).
Joseph – the Earthly Father
Earlier this week the students participated in a learning session about Joseph. This session was included in VBS since not much is known about him and his role in the Nativity is often overlooked.
Joseph was “of the House of David” and lived in the town of Nazareth. Some believe that Joseph was a young man (a teenager) when Jesus was born but in the Orthodox tradition he is believed to be much more elderly. He was betrothed to the Virgin Mary at the time that Mary conceived Jesus and is known as a just man. Joseph was by trade a carpenter (Matthew 13:55) and is last mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that Joseph died before Jesus entered his public ministry because only Mary was present at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, and he is not described at the crucifixion along with Mary (John 19:25). In addition, St. Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus, a duty that would have fallen to Joseph had he been alive.
Jesse was the father of King David and though we know little else about him, this fact alone is significant. In Jewish prophecy the Messiah was supposed to be descended from David, and David himself is considered as a foreshadowing of the person of Jesus Christ. And so Jesse is known as the root of this line of descent which culminates in Christ.
This significance of this family line is beautifully presented in the First Canon of the Nativity Matins: “Rod of the root of Jesse and flower that blossomed from his stem, O Christ, You have sprung from the Virgin. From the mountain overshadowed by the forest. You have come, made flesh from her that knew not wedlock, O God, Who are not formed from matter.”
As reported elsewhere in today’s VBS Daily News, the students created a “Jesse tree”. The following ornaments were placed on their tree:
- Adam and Eve (Gen.3: 20-24)
- Noah (Gen 8:20-22)
- Abraham (Gen 15: 5-6)
- Moses (Ex. 20: 1-17)
- David (II Samuel 5: 1-5)
- Elijah (I Kings 18: 30-32)
- Jeremiah (Jeremiah 9: 7-11), branch with leafy shoot. (Isaiah 11: 1)
- Nehemiah (Neh 2: 17-18)
- John the Baptizer (John 1: 29)
- Elizabeth (Luke 1: 39-45), and
- Jesus (John 1: 1-18)
FPO – For Parents Only
Tomorrow (Friday) is the last day of the VBS. The students will be taking home their craft and perhaps some surprises.
Please take a few minutes tonight/tomorrow to discuss with your children the day/week lessons and the things we should be doing to prepare for Christmas.