Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Jesse Tree

Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots."

A Jesse Tree in Medieval Art was a way of recounting the roots of Jesus throughout the Old Testament. It told the story of God's providence and sovereignty from the Fall in the Garden to the Incarnation of Christ. A wonderful tradition now combines the customs of the Christmas Tree and an Advent Calendar with the concept of the Jesse Tree for families each Advent Season to trace the events of Scripture leading up to Jesus' birth. The story is represented in images pictured on ornaments you hang each day on your tree. The tree can be drawn on a large poster board or a real tree can be used. We just place sticks in a vase of rocks! The children loved doing this so much: getting to be the one to hang the ornament on the tree (they never forgot whose turn it was!), figuring out what the symbol meant, hearing Scripture together each day, the anticipation of Christmas building as more and more ornaments were hung on the tree.

For more info on the Jesse Tree, I found this website helpful; it contains the history, a table of readings and symbols. I printed our ornaments from the Reformed Church Press and used their devotions as a starting place. The ornaments are in black and white so hubby and I colored them as a surprise for the kids and hung them across our dining room with clothes line and pins for the start of Advent. This year we may be able to get a little fancier but last year I felt it was better to start the tradition than to demand perfection and never try!

You can also find color ornaments to print here , if that would save a bit of time and encourage you to give it a try.

Seeking to become a story-formed people, we must hear the entire story again and again.

Also I wish I had known about The Glorious Coming ebook by Ann at Holy Experience, whose posts inspire me everyday, before I made mine!

Let me know if you any questions, any other resources you have found for your Jesse Tree or even your own pictures!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I was looking for advent calendar ideas and found only a few adequate ones. I was surprised at how many are Santa advent calendars including one stocking that you glue a picture of something you want for every day. Ugh! We are so culturally enslaved to our material stuff! Praise God for His freedom! We are going to join in doing a Jesse tree this year! Can't wait!

Amy said...

Thanks for writing! I hope you enjoy the Jesse Tree. How sad for those poor kids who fill their stockings with things they want everyday :-(

Beth said...

We started our tree tonight- thanks for all the great resources, what a great way to celebrate advent with our kids.


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