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'Jesse tree' at Catholic school in Oklahoma City shares holiday lesson

The premise of the ‘Jesse tree' at St. James Catholic School in Oklahoma City comes from Isaiah 11:1, which says “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”
by Carla Hinton Modified: December 22, 2012 at 8:38 am •  Published: December 22, 2012

/articleid/3739549/1/pictures/1912816">Photo - Anne Codding, principal at St. James Catholic School. Photo By Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
 <strong>Jim Beckel - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
Anne Codding, principal at St. James Catholic School. Photo By Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman Jim Beckel - THE OKLAHOMAN

Codding said she made the temple that sits atop the tree. For extra flair, she painted the phrase “God is love” in Hebrew on the miniature house of worship.

Sharing the message

Kindergarten teacher Brenda Tener said the kindergarten and first-grade classes have made their own Jesse trees for many years.

“The rest of the world says it's Christmas, but we know in our church we're waiting — this is Advent,” she said.

“We just take great delight in taking 10 to 15 minutes of each day to talk about the tree. It's a delight to teach about our faith,” she said.

For two days, classes at St. James took turns adding their decorations to the schoolwide Jesse tree. A short ceremony to bless the tree preceded the decorating.

Codding said the decorated tree is on display near the altar at St. James the Greater Catholic Church, where it will remain through Christmas. The school is affiliated with the church, 4201 S McKinley.

She said her students enjoy seeing their decorated tree in such a prominent position in the church. She said the tree displayed for the entire parish seems to beckon people to take a closer look at the miniature lamb ornaments (representing Isaac) or the manger ornament (representing Jesus).

“It really invites people to come up and approach,” Codding said.

“Isn't that what the Lord does? ... Invite people to come?”

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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