Photo by Kevin Day
I‘ve wanted to do a Jesse Tree for Christmas for the past few years, but I’ve never actually done it for one main reason – I haven’t planned far enough in advance. No longer.
Think of a Jesse Tree as a sort of advent calendar, except that in addition to a countdown to Christmas, you go through a family devotion in the Bible, starting with creation and ending with Jesus’ birthday. It’s geared towards the kids, so the devotional times are short, easy, and visual.
I know not all of you are Christians, but for those of you that are, you might want to consider starting this tradition with your family. All it takes is a little planning and your crafty hat.
The Jesse Tree Process
Every evening for about four weeks until Christmas, the family reads through a devotional, talks about the lesson, and hangs the appropriate ornament on the Jesse Tree. Each lesson walks chronologically through the Bible, highlighting historical moments that lead to the birth of Jesus.
I’ve seen some Jesse Tree devotionals with 25 days, starting with December 1, and I’ve seen some that have 29 – four full weeks plus Christmas Day.
There are a few devotionals you can find online, but there aren’t a lot. This year, if I have time, I hope to write our own, probably using the Scripture outline found here. I like the idea of doing 29 days, to coincide with the full celebration of Advent.
How to Make a Jesse Tree
You can make the tree as ornate or as simple as you like. Several ideas I’ve seen are:
- a simple tabletop Christmas tree
- a tree cut out of butcher paper and taped to the wall
- a bare twig with lots of branches, planted in a pot
Because we’re traveling for Christmas this year, I think I’ll find an inexpensive tabletop tree for now – but when we celebrate Christmas at home next year, I’d like to find a beautifully simple branch and plant it in a pot.
Making the Ornaments
Photo by Karly B
Again, these can be simple or elaborate. Some ideas:
- draw them on paper, punch a hole, and run them through with some ribbon
- print them online and do the same thing
- sew them with felt
- craft them with store-bought ornaments
- you can even buy a Jesse Tree kit
I remember Shannon creating hers out of inexpensive ornaments from Hobby Lobby – I think I’ll do the same. I prefer a simpler, classic-yet-modern aesthetic that I haven’t yet found online.
So this is my Christmas project for the week – hitting up Hobby Lobby, Garden Ridge, and other type stores for ornaments, looking for an inexpensive tree, and drafting up a simple devotional for our family, gearing it towards our preschool-age children.
Do you have a Jesse Tree with your family? How do you do it? If not, what are some of your family traditions to count down to Christmas Day?