I learned of this way of celebrating Advent through my pastor's wife at our former church (before I WAS the pastor's wife) many years ago. I had never heard of it before and was fascinated. She hauled a dead tree branch into the sanctuary and every Sunday the children read a series of scriptures that told the story of God throughout history. The prophecies of Christ's coming. They are all there, woven throughout history so that there was no way that we could miss Him. And yet we did, didn't we? We miss Him looking at us through the eyes of the orphan, the incarcerated, the homeless. Oh how we miss Him, but we don't have, too.
Especially at this time of year, we can look and find Him again and remind ourselves that He is coming, has come and will continue to come. Because He said, "Whatever you have done for the least of these you have done it unto me." So teach your children how to look for Him and remind them of the story of His coming, through the pages of scripture, so they don't miss Him.
Historically the Jesse Tree depicts the stories of the ancestors of Jesus. The tradition would be that every day you would read that portion of the story and then hang an ornament on the tree branch. That part, the branch, is used to represent the prophecy that out of the stump of Jesse, father of King David, a branch would come - Jesus. (Isaiah 11:1) Most of the Jesse Tree readers I've seen share the prophecies, showing the sweeping saga of God's finger through history pointing straight to His coming.
Here's a resource for a Jesse Tree using the genealogy of Jesus: CLICK FOR LINK
This is another resource that has a fuller explanation of the tree including the scriptures and symbols that follow the prophetic story of Christ throughout the Bible: CLICK FOR LINK
Here's another one with instructions on making your own tree: CLICK FOR LINK
While I have not read this book, so cannot personally recommend it, it looks interesting and I may want to pick it up for future reference: The Jesse Tree by Geraldine Mccaughrean
And here is a link to Ann Voskamp's free devotional and ornaments: CLICK FOR LINK
We have done this as a family using Ann Voskamp's resource. This is a beautifully done devotional reader, the ornaments are in full color and you can use them in a variety of ways. While we are not using the Jesse Tree this year (we are using Katharine Barrett's Walking to Bethlehem reader which has been wonderful thus far), I made a Jesse Tree hanging for a friend who is using Ann's reader. I printed the ornaments onto fabric and sewed them into ornaments. I quite loved the result and so did my friend! (Since we both have the book I don't think we were breaking any copyright laws)
My friend said I should team up with Ann and provide the hangings with her devotional...I don't think I could provide these for free, because they take too much work. I am, however, thinking of creating the pattern so people could make them themselves and perhaps writing my own Jesse Tree devotionals and crafting the ornaments so that I could present a complete package...what do you think?
How are you celebrating advent this year? I'd love to hear from you here in the comments!!
Some pictures of the Jesse Tree wall hanging I designed. You can see my materials list and get 'closer' over at Craftsy where I store my projects online CLICK HERE FOR LINK
|The whole tree, including 'storage' for the ornaments.|
Before anything goes on the tree.
|A close-up of the button storage system.|
|With all the ornaments on!|