Monday, November 21, 2011

The Jesse Tree: Starting an Advent Family Tradition

Christmas is just a little over a month away and I am excited. This year, we are adopting a family Advent tradition – the Jesse Tree.

The Jesse Tree, named in reference to Isaiah 11:1, is meant to represent Jesus’ family tree. Each day from the beginning of Advent until Christmas day, an ornament is hung symbolizing an element in the Bible reading for the day. Taken together, the ornaments serve as a visual recounting of the story of Creation up to the Birth of Jesus. 

The Jesse Tree allows numerous opportunities for learning and memory-making. It is a great introduction to the story of our God and our faith, allows young children to create something meaningful, and promotes family bonding time.

I loved the idea the moment I learned about it. It gives young and old a way to celebrate Christmas beyond gifts and parties, a celebration that focuses on Christ. This is how we plan to do it.

The Tree     A Jesse Tree can be something as simple as a paper cut-out or as elaborate as a Christmas tree bedecked with lights. For our first Jesse Tree, we decided on plain and natural, an actual branch planted on a pot filled with sand. 

Story and Craft Time     Every morning, starting on the first day of Advent (November 27 this year), we will read the equivalent Scripture reading in our children’s Bible story book. We will then make the ornament of the day: an apple for the story of the first sin, a rainbow for Noah’s ark, a slingshot for David, and so on.

Though I want to have heirloom-quality ornaments, I do not want to buy any and I do not want to do things by myself. I want my preschool-aged child to be an active participant. Considering her age, cutting, coloring and enhancing free ornament templates  from the internet is the best way to go.

Celebration     We will have our devotions every night just before dinner. We will read the story again and have our daughter hang the ornament created in the morning. Other families sing an Advent song such as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” as part of their celebration, and we will do it too as we prepare our hearts for Jesus' coming.

Some Links

Free Jesse Tree Kit - this one's WONDERFUL!

Our children are young and the coming holiday season is the perfect time to start planting and growing our roots that will eventually sprout into our family’s identity and history. I am excited! 

Have a blessed Advent and may we all remember the reason for Christmas! 

Make magic!

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Pinkscissorsdesign said...

Looking for Jesse Tree Ornaments?  I make felt sets.  Find them here:

Chris Amador said...

Thanks for sharing this idea! :) Will definitely work on this with the kids this year! :)