Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the Jesse tree

     Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I should be washing dishes and making desserts in preparation for tomorrow, but instead I thought I'd take a moment to talk about Jesse trees. A lot of my friends are making the plans for Advent activities and I always ask/suggest that they do a Jesse tree and usually they have no clue what I'm talking about. I first heard about the Jesse tree from some homeschooling moms about four years when I was looking for way to put more focus on Christ during the Christmas season and was completely smitten with the concept.
photo of our Jesse tree half way through Advent 2009

     A Jesse tree is an Advent tree that uses daily devotions with corresponding ornaments to tell the story of God's rescue plan from Creation to Christ. There are lots of different reading plans out there, some that begin the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, and others that begin on December 1st. You can buy the ornaments, or make them yourself. In the past, we've always used the plan from Reformed Church in America which has devotions that contain the scripture passages, a short reading, talking points to encourage family discussion, and a short prayer as well as the symbol ornaments that you can print out and either color yourself or have your kids color to go along with each story. This year however, I'm trying a new plan that exclusively uses The Jesus Storybook Bible which is by far my most favorite children's bible ever, of all time, and if you don't own it- get on amazon or to your local bookstore and snatch that baby up now!

     Full disclosure that I did not come up with this plan. I found it on another blog: here. But I want to repost the plan here just in case something happens with their blog later on down the road and the page gets lost in cyber space, or erased or something. Here is the date, the story, the suggested idea for the ornament, and the biblical passage. How we usually do things is we start with an empty tree and each day we read the story, talk about it, hang the corresponding ornament on the tree and say a little prayer.

Dec 1 - Creation (dove): JSB pg 18-27 based on Genesis 1-2
Dec 2 - The Fall (fruit tree): JSB pg 28-37 based on Genesis 3
Dec 3 - The Flood (rainbow): JSB pg 38-47 based on Genesis 6-9
Dec 4 - Tower of Babel (tower): JSB pg 48-55 based on Genesis 11
Dec 5 - The Promise to Abraham (stars in the sky): JSB pg 56-61 based on Genesis 12-21
Dec 6 - Abraham and Isaac (ram): JSB pg 62-69 based on Genesis 22
Dec 7 - Jacob, Rachel and Leah (stalks of grain): JSB pg 70-75 based on Genesis 29-30
Dec 8 - Joseph (rainbow coat): JSB pg 76-83 based on Genesis 37-46
Dec 9 - Moses and the Burning Bush (burning bush): JSB pg 84-91 based on Exodus 3-13
Dec 10 - Moses and the Red Sea (split waters): JSB pg 92-99 based on Exodus 14-15
Dec 11 - The Law (stone tablets): JSB pg 100-107 based on Exodus 16, 17, 19-40
Dec 12 - Joshua and Jericho (trumpet): JSB pg 108-115 based on Joshua 3 and 6
Dec 13 - David's Anointing (David the shepherd boy): JSB pg 116-121 based on 1 Samuel 16
Dec 14 - David and Goliath (slingshot): JSB pg 122-129 based on 1 Samuel 17
Dec 15 - David the Shepherd (lyre): JSB pg 130-135 based on Psalm 23, 51, 2 Samuel 7
Dec 16 - Naaman (heart): JSB pg 136-143 based on 2 Kings 5
Dec 17 - Isaiah (crown): JSB pg 144-151 based on Isaiah 9, 11, 40, 50, 53, 55, 60
Dec 18 - Daniel in the Lion's Den (Daniel and a lion): JSB pg 152-159 based on Daniel 6
Dec 19 - Jonah (fish): JSB pg 160-169 based on Jonah 1-4
Dec 20 - The Prophets (party hat): JSB pg 170-175 based on Nehemiah 8-10
Dec 21 - Mary and the Angel (angel): JSB pg 176-179 based on Luke 1-2
Dec 22 - Journey to Bethlehem (scroll): JSB pg 180-181 based on Luke 1-2
Dec 23 - John the Baptist (shell): JSB pg 200-203 based on Matthew 3
Dec 24 - The Shepherds and Wise Men (three wise men): JSB pg 184-188 based on Luke 2
Dec 25 - Jesus is Born! (baby Jesus): JSB pg 182, 190, 192-198 based on Luke 2

     Another nice thing about the Jesse tree is that you can easily adapt it to suit the age of you children. Use whatever storybook bible you have or read the actual scriptures from whatever translation of Bible you prefer.  If you have preschoolers to elementary ages kids, Truth in Tinsel might be a great plan for you. If you have teens or just prefer the flowery style of Ann Voskamp, you can try her Jesse tree plan.  If you don't want to make the ornaments or hunt down individual ornaments in stores, you can buy Jesse tree kits on amazon.

     Have you ever heard of Jesse trees? Do you do them with your kids? Let me know!!

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