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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jesse Tree

photo by stephend9

Guest blogger Terra Hangen, coauthor of the book, Scrapbook Of Christmas Firsts: Stories To Warm Your Heart And Tips To Simplify Your Holiday, will be providing ideas for us as families to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. You'll find her articles here each Tuesday through Christmas week. I encourage you to buy her heartwarming book through, an act which will help support the TGMT ministry.

Creating a Jesse Tree is a family activity that children enjoy in Advent Season, during the month leading up to Christmas. This tradition gets its name from Isaiah 11:1 “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” In this verse Isaiah wrote that a ruler “from the stem of Jesse”, the line of David, would come to rule in peace, foretelling the birth of Jesus.

You can create your own Jesse tree, adding an ornament to the tree each day in Advent, and each day reading Scripture that matches the ornament.

For the tree you can use a small real tree, or one you hang on a wall made of felt with velcro backed ornaments, or make a simple tree outlined on posterboard. The posterboard tree is very inexpensive and children can paint the tree outline.

Ornament ideas and suggested Scripture readings are easily found online by searching “Jesse tree.” In my family we write the year and initials on the back of homemade ornaments. Time flies and before you know it you will be saying “you made this five years ago!” We have homemade ornaments dated 1975.

At there are outlines of color ornaments that you can print on your home printer and suggested Scripture for each day. Your kiddoos will want to cut out the ornaments and paste them on round shaped construction paper backing. Extra creative children can draw and color their own Jesse tree ornaments based on online ideas.

Some ornaments that fit the Bible readings include a rainbow, ark, lamb, a cross, dove, stars, crown, ladder, bread, roses, multi-colored coat, lion, and apple. You can get as inventive as you want - perhaps an apple for Adam and Eve, a sheaf of wheat for Ruth, an ark and rainbow for Noah, a lamb for Abraham and Isaac, and a star for the birth of Jesus.

There is a story of one family’s Jesse tree in my book, about how a grandma decided to change the focus of her home by taking down their traditional Christmas tree and putting up a Jesse tree and a life-sized manger scene. She wondered how her extended family would react. The first visitor, her grandson, gave it his stamp of approval when he exclaimed, “It’s the baby Jesus!”

I was so hoping Terra would do a Jesse Tree article. I have fond memories of doing this with my kids. It's a great teaching tool and puts the focus on Jesus being the reason for the season on a daily basis. Thanks for contributing, Terra. I'm really enjoying this! :) Deb

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