It is extremely important to us that our children understand the importance of Christmas and its true meaning to our faith. I have been hearing about “Jesse Trees” for a couple of years now, and this year I decided to go for it and have one of our own.
A Jesse Tree helps children (and adults) to meditate on Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby. Each day of Advent, there is a reading from the Old Testament that explains the big picture of God’s plan for sending his son.
I found a great Jesse Tree family devotional (that’s free!) to help our family as we prepare for Christmas this year. Scroll to the bottom of the post I have linked to find out how to download your copy. (Do you read A Holy Experience? Ann’s beautiful writing is sure to give you food for thought.)
This devotional is wonderful for a bunch of reasons. First, it has each day’s scripture reading printed out for convenience. Then, it has a nice narrative section that the whole family can enjoy, to help guide our meditations. Each day, there is some kind of activity to help the ideas sink in. And finally, at the end of the book there are full-color illustrations to use as the ornaments. They can be printed out and mounted in any way that suits your fancy.
I had my devotional printed and bound at Staples. I was thinking of having the ornaments printed on iron-on transfer paper, then ironing them onto fabric and making little stuffed pillow-ornaments out of them. But then I decided that would be too much work, and I had Staples print them onto thick cardstock and laminate them. (I had them printed at half-size because I thought they would fit better on the tree I was going to use).
So each night, we will read from the devotional and then add the corresponding ornament to our Jesse tree with a clip. I think all of us will really enjoy this new tradition.
Does your family do any special Advent activities?