Thursday, December 1, 2011

the jesse tree: an advent calendar {with free printables!}

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, 
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
Isiah 11:1

This idea is not original to me.  One Christmas, we celebrated at my sis-in-law's house.  She had one of these "Jesse trees" and did this each morning with her two boys that year {she may still even do this}.  She took time to explain to us this "tree" she had sitting on a table in her dining room.  It was an advent calendar, of sorts.  One with a "Christian" perspective.  I was smitten with the whole idea of it.  And even, at that time, before I had my two babies, I knew I wanted to make this a family tradition in our home.

It's a bit time consuming to start it up {preparing each ornament and the coordinating verses}, but I was determined this year to make it a priority.  {Seeing as Annaleigh can currently quote lines from the movie "Elf."}  I take Deuteronomy 6:4-7 seriously.  I want my children to know God and have an understanding available to them so that, someday, they will, God willing, make the choice to choose Christ as their Savior.  How else does this happen without intention?  Even my life, as it's lived before their eyes, must be intentional.  It must be intentionally infused with a biblical mindset and attitude.  So that all I say and do glorifies the Lord.  Enter: the Jesse Tree.

Ok, Michelle. Enough talking...what is a Jesse tree anyway??

I'm glad you asked.
I will tell you.

The Jesse tree represents the family lineage of Jesus {Isaiah 11:1}.  There are 25 ornaments that will eventually adorn the tree.  Each ornament represents the ancestors of Jesus or events leading up to the birth of Jesus.  A biblical reference is located on the back of each ornament, which offers an explanation of the image found on the front of each ornament.

Our family has wrapped the ornaments in tissue paper.  Every morning in December, we will unwrap an ornament and read the correlating scripture.  The story of Jesus begins with Creation {although, some Jesse trees, I found, have even begun with "eternity":  God existing before everything else...but, I figured, you could include that into the account of Creation} and leads to December 25th, where you unwrap baby Jesus lying in a straw bed!  

To me, the concept of opening Jesus on Christmas day, after opening all previous ornaments and reading the scripture of His awaited first coming, will simulate {just a smidgen} of the anticipation and EXCITEMENT(!) that the Jewish nation felt when the promised Messiah had finally arrived!!  

How can you have one of these, you say?  

I'm glad you asked...  

I have done a ton of research on this thing, and let me tell you, the quality of scripture seemed to be lacking.  I had to collaborate a lot of the information I found in order to create the ornaments and collect scripture that properly represented {in my mind, anyway} the heritage of Jesus.

First, go get a tree.  Any kind of tree.  Whatever kind of tree you like best.

Next, download and print up the ornament images and scripture references {located below}.  Adorn and embellish.  As much or as little as you like {or have the time for}.  Note:  Some of the ornaments I've seen on the web are beautifully elaborate!  If I had the time and money to make them 3D and colorful, I would.  But who has time these days?  {If you do, I'll just call you lucky...}

Last, wrap up the ornaments and begin a meaningful tradition in your home!

Free printable ornaments 
and scripture references:
(click on images to download)
Ornaments - page 1
Ornaments - page 2
Ornaments - page 3
Ornaments - page 4
Ornaments - page 5

Click HERE for the Scripture References

Here are some additional pictures, ideas, and information:
(click on an image to be directed to it's website)



And a bonus:
Ann Vonskamp has written and provided 
on her site, A Holy Experience.
{I wish I had known about this when I was putting mine together!}

I hope you enjoy as you {intentionally} keep CHRIST in Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. LOVE it! May add it to our many advents next year:) This way I can prepare for a whole year!


Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer's year - it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul. -Unknown