Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Jesse Tree

There is almost nothing more precious to me this time of year than to see nativity figures in their hands, being made "real" through pretend play. If you have little ones and don't have the Little People Nativity set (and now the Three Wisemen set), consider it! This is a favorite Christmas activity in our house. This year, for the first time, we've decided to add a Jesse Tree to our Advent celebrations. I've heard about them for several years but for one reason or another we just never got around to starting the tradition. To learn the history of a Jesse Tree, go HERE. We are using the Jesse Tree ornaments and reflections that are available for free from A Holy Experience. You could google "Jesse Tree" and get a TON of varitions to use in your home.
Here are our finished ornaments. Each day we read a target bible story, reflection, and goal for the day, and then we hang the ornament on our small tree. For instance, the other day's activity was for the children to list 10 ways the Lord provided for them, just like he provided Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice, instead of his son.

To make our ornaments we gathered a few supplies. You wouldn't have to do it as "fancy" as we did. You could just simply print them out on card stock and hang with a hook. I thought the ornaments would look lovely on the above assorted card stock (from Michael's). It is double-sided, so the backs are pretty too. =-)I found these ribbons, an alternative to metal hooks, for a few dollars at K-mart.

After cutting out the graphic and pasting it onto card stock we sandwiched the ornament between contact paper--the predecessor for lamination! LOL! I love contact paper! We cut out the ornaments with pinking sheers (or however you spell that!) because zig-zags are just too cute. Then, on the back, we added the date that each ornament should be hung.
I punched the hole for each ornament--some at an angle and some straight-on. I thought that might keep the tree from looking like it was covered with square pieces of paper! We placed the ornaments in a Christmas-y basket, and put the basket under the tree.
I collect nativities, so I added all of my nativity ornaments to the tree.
The kids love going over to this tree to play with the Little People Nativity. The whole Jesse Tree activity for each day takes maybe 10 minutes--tops. But it's such a nice addition to the day. We get so focused on the WRONG stuff this time of year. Adding this tradition forces us (in a good way) to take at least a few minutes of day just to sit and focus on our Christ--and all of the things leading up to His birth. This will definitely be an every-year tradition for us now.
Even though it's the 8th of December, it's not too late to start this tradition with your family. ANY time spent reflecting on God/Christ and His love for us is GOOD time! We didn't get started until the 4th. Who cares? We went through several devotions the first day, and now we're "caught up."
Even if you don't do a Jesse Tree (or any Advent activities) consider what you can do with your family to place the focus away from the "gimmies" and back onto the gift of Christ.


Alysa 10:10 PM  

That's pretty dang cool! I really like the interactive-ness of both the nativity set and the tree!

mrsbroccoliguy 8:44 AM  

I love this idea. I'm totally bookmarking it to come back to next fall. Thanks so much for the how-to!!