Monday, December 23, 2013

Jesse Tree

We did our nightly, family, advent devotional a little different this year.  In years past, we have used the booklet that comes in the December issue of the Focus on the Family magazine.  We have all enjoyed that, but I really wanted to make a Jesse Tree this year.

I first heard about a Jesse tree when Clayton was a baby.  One of my friends was a part of a Jesse Tree ornament exchange, and I thought that it was the coolest idea.  At the time, I felt like Clayton was too little to understand, and I would do it "one day."  Eight years later, this was the year.  ;)

Basically, a Jesse tree is a way to celebrate advent or "the coming."  It shows us how the entire cannon of scripture points to Jesus coming as a baby to live a perfect life, die on the cross as the spotless sacrifice for our sins, and then be resurrected to reign in Heaven forever.  The Jesse tree devotionals trace Jesus' genealogy from the beginning of time.  I love that it teaches us that God used ordinary people and less than perfect circumstances to bring His precious Son to the world.  That is a valuable lesson for our children on so many levels!

We used the book The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to Prepare for the Coming of the Christ Child at Christmas by Dean Lambert Smith.  It gave scripture, hymns, a devotional, and review questions for each of the nights leading up to Christmas and for Christmas Day.  It was a great tool for us, and we plan to use it for many years in the future.

I didn't finish all of the ornaments, but most of them were complete.  I got some great ideas from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and The Domestic Notebook.  They both have wonderful trees!  Here are some pictures of our tree and ornaments from this year.

The boys loved opening the ornament each night.  :)

I am thinking about hosting a Jesse Tree ornament exchange next year.  I think it would be so fun to collect a set of ornaments for each of my children to have when they start their own families.  Wouldn't that be a cool wedding present?

I wanted to document our first year using the Jesse Tree so that we can see how it changes from year to year.  I think it is a great tradition for our little family.  :)