November 26, 2010

The Jesse Tree

It is almost time to start adding an ornament a day to our Jesse Tree.  I cannot wait. 

It is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

Ruth's Bag of Wheat - Day 10

Many of you are probably familiar with the Jesse Tree.
An advent activity named after the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1-12:2.
Most Jesse Trees highlight 25 events for 25 days, 
beginning with creation and ending with the first Christmas. 

Birth of Jesus - Day 25
However, we begin our tree a day earlier than most. 

We start our Jesse Tree on November 30.
On this day, we discuss God's eternal and steadfast love.
We use the evergreen of our tree to symbolize God's eternal love,
and we hang a red heart garland around the whole tree. 
This heart garland is to symbolize God's love woven
throughout all the events that lead up to Christ's birth on earth.

Starting December 1, we spend time each day
reading with our children from the Bible
and discussing an event that led up to the birth of Christ. 
 Each of the 25 events has an accompanying ornament

Some of the events we read and discuss are:

Sacrifice of Isaac - Day 5

Joshua and Entering Canaan - Day 9

John the Baptist - Day 22

and Anna & Simeon - Day 23.

Over the years, I have seen amazingly creative and individualized Jesse Trees by others.  For our tree, we use a variety of resources, but our main resource is The Jesse Tree Journey by Carol D. R. McCray.  Years ago, I bought a kit from Proverbs 31 Ministries that contained this book and the materials to make 25 ornaments and a quilted tree wall hanging.  We have never used the tree wall hanging.  Instead, we use a small artificial pine tree for the ornaments.  Within our Jesse Tree devotional, I wrote the supplies we own (books, games, DVDs, and crafts) that relate to each featured event.  Then, each day, I can chose an extension activity to complete with the children either as part of their lessons or just for fun. 

Whether you create or purchase ornaments for the Jesse Tree, I recommend a small bin to store them and your guided devotional throughout the rest of the year.  Our supplies fit nicely in a small plastic bin we keep in the hall closet.  I also keep a similar bin with our Easter Tree supplies in the same closet.  Both are easily accessible when needed.

The schedule for our Jesse Tree including the ornament symbols within the parenthesis:

November 30 - God's eternal love (evergreen tree) woven throughout the Bible (red heart garland)

Please note: The following 25 days are based on Carol D. R. McCray's The Jesse Tree Journey.

December 1 - Creation (world)
December 2 - Fall of Man (snake around a fruit)
December 3 - Noah and the Ark (ark)
December 4 - Abraham (tent)
December 5 - Sacrifice of Isaac (ram)
December 6 - Jacob (ladder)
December 7 - Joseph (colorful coat)
December 8 - Ten Commandments (two 'stone' tablets)
December 9 - Joshua and entering Canaan (grapes)
December 10 - Ruth (bag of wheat)
December 11 - David (sling)
December 12 - Solomon (temple)
December 13 - Elijah (raven)
December 14 - Jeremiah (scroll)
December 15 - Stump of Jesse (stump)
December 16 - Daniel (lion)
December 17 - Ezra & Nehemiah (wall)
December 18 - Prophesy of Savior (cross)
December 19 - Bethlehem (village)
December 20 - Esther (crown)
December 21 - Jonah (fish)
December 22 - John the Baptist (man with long hair)
December 23 - Anna & Simeon (older man and woman)
December 24 - Mary (young girl)
December 25 - Baby Jesus (baby in a manger)


  1. My Jesse Tree isn't quite finished. BUT it will be. I love the handmade ornaments.

  2. The Jesse Tree was something I never did with my kids. I had never heard of it until just a few years ago. Maybe with the future grandkids!? Such a cute idea. We liked the advent books - Jotham's Journey, Tabitha's Travels and Bartholomew's Passage. They were so good!!

    Thanks for taking part in the Giving Thanks challenge. I read your list this afternoon and it looks like we have a lot in common - and a LOT to be thankful for!

    - Leah


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