I had always wanted to start something, a tradition if you will, to mark the season of advent for my children. I wanted to prepare my children for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We do quite a bit to prepare for Christmas but most of it revolves around decorating, gifts, food, etc. We talk plenty about the real reason for Christmas, but I wanted something tangible to do with my kids during the season of Advent to help them understand it all.
Last year a sweet friend gave us an amazing gift, The Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree seeks to tell the story of God's redemptive plan for us through 25 symbols from the old and new testament. The symbols trace the heritage of Christ from the beginning of creation. Ours has a devotional book and 25 ornaments (symbols) to hang on a small tree. So everyday, starting December 1st, our kids open an ornament from under the tree, and we read the corresponding devotion in our book. Each devotion explains the symbol using scripture, songs, questions and prayers. Today's ornament was a small globe to signify that Christ, in God, existed before all of creation, and that God created everything. Other symbols signify sin and our need for a savior, God's covenant with His chosen people, prophesies foretelling characteristics or events concerning the "new shoot" from the stump of Jesse, prophesies of Bethlehem, the Shepherd and the suffering servant.
This is the book...
These are all the ornaments (symbols) before I wrapped them.
This is our little tree we use as our Jesse Tree. The kids unwrap one ornament each day and hang it on the tree.
When I got out the ornaments and the book today the boys were so excited. Even on those days when we're rushing from dawn to dusk, it's the boys who at the end of the day say "we have to do our Jesse Tree".