Sunday, December 04, 2011

Lowest-Tech Jesse Tree Possible

 You may or may not have heard of a Jesse Tree.  I hadn't until a friend mentioned she was making one for her boys a few years back. The idea is to have a visual of Isaiah 11:1- "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit."  This speaks of the coming Messiah as one who would be of David's royal line (Jesse was David's father), despite that line's seeming death (during the Exile).  So this tree-- often depicted as branches coming out of an old stump-- has become a symbol for the lineage of Christ; for everything that happened to make us ready for the Messiah (Christ)-child to be born... to have to come to die for us.

Each day of Advent, a symbolic ornament is added to represent one event or character in the lead-up to the Messiah's birth in Bethlehem.  Starting with God's Creation of the world on Day 1, moving through the Fall (which is the whole reason we NEED a Savior), the Flood, the calling of Abraham, the Exodus, the Kingdom, the Prophets, the Exile, and then the familiar events of Matt 1-3 & Luke 1-2.

I had hoped to make ornaments from figurines, felt, toys, and other craftsy ideas. :)  But I just haven't found the energy to make it up to Hobby Lobby, so this year we are doing the lowest-tech Jesse Tree you've ever seen.  Brown paper (mine was packing material), a computer printer, markers, tape & scissors are all ya need. Ryan's quote was "Awe-struck would be too strong a word" when he saw it.  Heh, I know.  But Eowyn loves it, and it's helpful for me to have a 'trial-run' to decide which calendar to use  (even how many days to go-- the 25 day version or 29 day version) before I go make all the ornaments. 

I printed off two lists- a longer list (starts 4 Sundays before Christmas Day) from Christian Voice, and a 25-day list (starts Dec 1st) from  I printed off coloring graphics from and from The Reformed Church in America.  There are tons more out there; I just wanted something Eowyn could color, so that's why I went with the simple black & white outlines. This is another cool packet-- this would totally make part of a fun birthday or new-baby gift.  If I were doing these to be our permanent Jesse Tree ornaments I might have done some of the colored ones like these.

Every morning after breakfast, while she's still contained in her high chair, I "read" (usually it's more of a re-cap) the day's story to Eowyn from one of our many children's Bibles-- right now the Illustrated Children's Bible Vol 1 is working great.  Then she gets one marker at a time (to her great delight) and makes a few marks on the day's ornament.  We work on colors too as she gets to tell me which color she'd like next.  Then I tape it onto our tree.  Ta-da! 

I've been pleasantly surprised at how much the symbols seem to help Eowyn remember each story from day to day, and how often I find them popping up in later discussions.  I know some of the symbolism goes WAY over her head-- like the stars for Abraham, or the Rainbow for Noah-- but at least they are becoming familiar to her, and some day (I pray) when someone asks her how she "knows so much about God's promises & care of His people," that she has to squint and think and say "you know, I don't remember-- I just have always known those stories."

1 comment:

ddavis said...

this year I got to be a part of a Jesse tree ornament exchange - 25 moms each get assigned an ornament and they make 25 of that assigned ornament. Then have a party and exchange ornaments so everyone has a complete set. We ended up with AWESOME ornaments and it was a fraction of the work of having to make an entire set on your own!