Friday, December 2, 2011

our Jesse Tree

Yesterday was the first of December, and I seem to have missed the date when it comes to starting our Jesse Tree. Every year I fill the little drawers above with a Bible reading on a slip of paper, a few small lollies and a nativity figure, and we open one a day leading up to Christmas. This year, disorganisation got the better of me.

I generally use readings that I came up with - an Old Testament story, a promise or prophecy, and a New Testament reading - but I wanted something different this year. So I sat at the computer last night and looked for some resources.

If you, too, are wondering what to read with your kids leading up to Christmas - and if you are also late organising it! - the best printable resources I found were by Wendy:

They look great, don't they? I think I'll use the first one this year, as it's a little different to what we've done in recent years. Thanks, Wendy!

If you want more ideas for creating a Jesse Tree, check out 168 hours.


Mel said...

We have been using Wendy's 'Birth of Jesus' Advent readings with our kids for the past 2 years (this will be our 3rd year using it). We find it really helpful for the kids to learn in more detail the events surrounding the Birth of Jesus and keeps Jesus at the centre of their minds with all the 'santa' and 'consumerism' side of Christmas going on all around them.

Each year I consider trying Wendy's other readings - 'Genesis to Jesus'. But with the kids being so young (2, 4 and 6 this year) they still find doing the same one fresh and learn new things each year. Like this year my 6 year old can now read the Bible verse for each day himself; my 4 year old can now comprehend the bible readings and participate in answering the discussion questions; and my 2 year ...well I think she is going to quickly understand that there is a little treat each day and catch the 'looking forward/anticipation' aspect of advent.

Jean said...

Thanks, Mel, good to hear your story.

The last few years, we've been doing something a little more like "Genesis to Jesus" (using readings I came up with) but it was feeling a bit all over the place. Plus I have a 5 year old who I want to get excited about the simple stories of Jesus. So we, too, will be joining you reading the "Birth of Jesus" this year!

I'd like to try something different once my littlest is a bit older: where we read a prophecy or promise fulfilled by Jesus each day (readings from Isaiah, the Psalms, Micah, the songs of Mary etc...). If I ever create it, I'll try and work out how to share it with you, and you can try that one after your kids have graduated from "Genesis to Jesus"!

Maybe I can get Wendy to make it into a little booklet and call it "Promises about Jesus"! :)

Fiona McLean said...

This year we are trying something I came up with about the names and symbols for Jesus, including Alpha and Omega, a Warrior (Rev. 19), Son of David, Bridegroom, Bread of Life, etc. It's a bit wobbly so far, but I hope the concept will work overall. Part of my aim is to blow apart the "fluffy" nativity Jesus that can be the only way Jesus is presented at this time of year (if he features at all), and give our children a better understanding of the richness of who Jesus is.

Fiona McLean

Wendy said...

Thanks Jean! And you're welcome - let me know how you find it, would love to have your feedback, I often think of ways to tweak it every year.

We have decided to do each lot of material for 2 years in a row, then switch. So we are on 'Genesis to Jesus' this year, and mine are enjoying it, but they are a bit older than yours Mel (8,6,4).

And Jean, happy to collaborate in the future - maybe we will find more time one year?!

Jean said...

Yes, let's find time for that - we won't get over-busy or distracted from the home front or anything! :)

One called "Promises about Jesus" and one called "Who is Jesus?" (with ideas from Fiona as mentioned above) and we could have this whole Christmas thing all sewn up!

If that were possible...isn't it wonderful that the Bible is so multi-facetted, and Jesus so amazing, that we could never get to the end of all the Bible has to teach us about him, however many booklets we wrote?

I feel like I am carrying on two conversations with you at once, one here, one on your blog...

Wendy said...

Sounds great - no, I would never overcommit!! We are carrying on two conversations - lovely though - thanks for input. W

Rachach said...

HI Jean,
We're using the Big Picture Story Bible this year as it has 26 readings from Genesis to Revelation and each reading points in some way to Jesus. So far we're enjoying it. I've also made a 'Jesus Tree' out of branshes to hang a symbol related to the story we are reading to build up a visual picture of the whole Bible story. There's a picture of my tree on if anyone's interested.
Fiona: I love your idea. When you finish it can I have a look?

Bec said...

Thanks for the links to Wendy's booklets, Jeans. I've been thinking about doing something similar with our Jesse tree readings but now I won't have to! I think it would be a great idea to publish the book ideas you have talked about as well as the two in the post. As a time poor mum, and I know there are many others, I would be so thankful for someone else to do the legwork (or handwork in this case!) for me - I know, I'm lazy!

It would be great to have photocopiable colouring pictures included in appendix, as well as patterns for ornament sized pictures to be colored and hung. As I was pondering what else would be helpful (ie my wishlist!) I also thought if each 'theme' of readings had a key memory verse, then you could put a word or two per day in your advent calender and memorise it as you build it each day. I think it would also be good for each days reading selection to include the chapters/verses of the whole 'story' that you might choose to read discuss with older children. My 7 children range from 6 months up to 10, so I'm always on the look out for things that work with preschoolers through to teens (I'll be there soon enough!).

I'll put my order in now for one of each!

Bec :-)

Jean said...

Sounds fantastic, not sure if it will get done! But I have been putting some work in on the prophecies about Jesus during my "quiet times" :).

Wendy said...

Mel, I like the memory verse idea. Mine have a key verse (which could be a memory verse) for each day, but I realise that could be too much! Ours all get a print out of the verse so they can stick them all on a sheet of paper.

And I like the idea about more detail for older kids. I am finding this year I am doing that anyway as I go along with my older too, extending it on the fly - I guess I should note down some of those things along the way!!