Have you ever heard of Jesse Trees? I have been entranced with the idea of Jesse Trees for years but we’ve always done Advent calendar activities instead. This must be the year for them, for I’ve seen a lot of posts or pins all over the Internet. The Jesse Tree provides another wonderful and child-friendly way to count down to Christmas; except this time each symbol or ornament represents a story of God interacting with love toward His children, beginning in the Old Testament.
For example: there is a tree representing Adam and Eve; a rainbow for Noah; a ram for Abraham and Isaac; a ladder for Jacob; and so on. Familiar passages from the Old Testament (and, at the end of the process, the New Testament too) come to life with each little ornament.
This is the first year our family has done a Jesse Tree. I’ve wanted to make one for years and finally found a great book on Amazon that has helped me do just that: Let’s Make a Jesse Tree by Darcy James. James’ book includes 26 full-sized patterns, one for each day of December leading up to Christmas, plus a couple for Christmas Day itself!
I copied each pattern on our printer, then cut each ornament out of felt. (I had all the necessary colors on hand except one; can you tell I’m a homeschooler? :)) Some parts required a bit of embroidery or cross-stitch. Darcy James includes a pattern for a banner in her book, but I wanted an actual tree instead, so I added one extra step to each ornament’s construction: hot-gluing a ribbon loop to the back of each one.
Murphy, Jackson and I went out in a grassy area in our neighborhood at the beginning of December to look for some fallen branches that we could use to make our tree. There is a cottonwood tree there that we love, and we found 5 or 6 lovely branches on the ground just waiting to be used. We collected them and cleaned them off, then settled them in a glass jar with glass pebbles in the bottom to hold the branches steady. Then, the fun began!
I started making an ornament a day…but then life got a bit crazy and I had to double up. However, b/c the patterns are so simple I finally decided to just crank out a bunch of them while we watched a family movie….so I’ve completed most of them.
James’ book also includes, along with each ornament’s directions, the Scripture verses that tell the story of each ornament, plus a little commentary explaining why each symbol was selected for those passages.
Each night, we read the selected passages and commentary, then we hang the ornament on our Jesse Tree. It’s becoming more and more colorful each day….and each day we’re reminded of the God who loves us, who’s always interacted with His children for their good.
I can’t wait to get to the end!