We have never used a Jesse tree before! Usually, we countdown through Advent with an Advent calendar that we’ve made. But this year, for the first time ever, we’re going to use a JESSE TREE that we’ve made. Oh how fun is this!
A Jesse tree uses ornaments that represent people in Jesus’ family tree. From creation, through the line of Jesse and David, down to Jesus.
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1
A daily reading accompanies each ornament and as each day of Advent passes, you learn more about bible characters in Jesus’ family line and prophecies that foretold the coming of the Messiah.
There are a few different ways of doing a Jesse tree, though they mostly use the same ornaments.. and a plethora of ways to actually make your own tree.
We’ll be reading through Ann Voskamp’s Jesse tree devotionals. If you subscribe to Ann’s blog, the link to the download is in the footer of her blog feed. This includes a set of beautiful color ornaments to print and make.
But if, like me, you don’t have a color printer…
You can find a set of black & white printable Jesse tree ornaments at RCA.org. These are very simple but do provide an opportunity to color and make them with your children. These black and white ornaments do come with their own set of devotionals (under “Family Devotions based on the Jesse tree” on that page.) But they also almost exactly line up with the devotions written by Ann – and she is such a talented, God-blessed writer! I definitely want to use hers.
If you choose to use Ann’s devotions with the black and white ornaments, here’s what you need to do:
- Ignore the bed ornament. It’s not even used in the included devotionals, I have no idea what it’s for. (Thoughts?)
- Draw & color a sun behind the rose on the rose ornament. Their rose stands for “prophets”. The sun with Ann’s devotional stands for “light.” The lesson is a passage of prophecy talking about light. So the ornament now stands for the prophets talking about a coming light. Done! (Or you could print a little picture of a candle or something. Whichever.)
- Keep or discard the lion. The lion represents Daniel, which is not included with Ann’s devotionals. You can choose to double up one day and include it, or leave it out. Your call.
I also found a few other Jesse tree posts, to help you get some ideas (both new and old, check the dates):
- A variety of ornament ideas @ Passionate Homemaking
- Suggested Symbols for Jesse Tree @ Suite101
- Laminated cardstock @ Somewhat Muddles Musings
- Hobby Lobby/craft store ornament ideas @ Rocks In My Dryer
- A fabric ornament Jesse tree @ Homespun Heart
- Paper & Glitter Jesse tree ornaments @Mosaic of Grace
- Felt ornaments @ Feels Like Home
For our Jesse tree, we printed the black & white ornaments, colored them, glued them to black paper, cut them out leaving a small black border & taped yarn loops to the back for hanging. Our “tree” is a collection of dried sticks in a vase that have been spray painted white. (Well, some of them have. I need to get more white spray paint.)
I believe some people choose to make each ornament each day after reading the lesson, and that’s a great idea! I chose to make ours all at once so that we could work on it all together as a group and so that we can do other crafts on other days without having too much to do. We typically do our Advent readings in the evenings, so we’ll do the same with the Jesse tree.
I’m really looking forward to doing this. If you haven’t started yet — that’s okay! We haven’t either. It was so late by the time we finished making the ornaments that we were all overtired and cranky. This isn’t a race — it’s a time of focus. Let’s begin together, shall we?
(Side-note! It has taken THREE DAYS to write this post! Between extreme scatterbrained-ness and constant interruptions I’ve had difficulty focusing. What’s funny, ironic, is that this post.. all of these posts.. are for the purpose of FOCUSING this Christmas on Jesus! Let this serve as a reminder how easy it is to lose focus in this busy of this holiday season, both on the reason and on our daily tasks. Don’t let the busy bury you!)
If you’ve written a post about YOUR Jesse tree, feel free to include a link in your comment! I do not mind, not at all! I want to see them! And I’d love to know how long you’ve been using a Jesse tree and how you use this tradition with your family. God bless!