Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Range Finally Gets a Jesse Tree

There's nothing like celebrating Lent by writing about Advent. I've started most of my Advent posts, though, so I don't want to waste the time invested already by just deleting them.

I've tried a Jesse Tree in the past and have always been disappointed by the response of the children, but I felt like I needed one more thing for Advent and a Jesse Tree seemed perfect. This devotion is such a beautiful way to include Scripture in our Advent plans. Also, the Jesse Tree aids us in preparing our hearts and waiting for the Messiah in a way reminiscent of the way the Hebrew people waited for the Messiah. Ideally, we would also remember we are still waiting--for Christ's second coming.

I used the Jesse Tree from Advent, Christmas Epiphany in the Domestic Church. (You can find it for a reasonable cost at Sacred Heart Books and Gifts.) I like this version which focuses more on the "waiting" aspect of Advent rather than just the lineage of Jesus. It also does not include the O Antiphons, which I wanted to do separately.

I made two copies of each page of Jesse Tree ornaments (photocopies are permitted with purchase of the book). I colored them with colored pencils so I had two colored copies of each ornament. I cut them out and glued one set to some Christmas paper I had left over from last year's Advent drawer project. (Pink and purple would have been better but I didn't want to buy anything and already had this paper.)

Then I created a little book of the readings. I copied the NRSV text from an online Bible and pasted each day's reading into a new page of a Word document. I added a little purple rectangle at the top right corner for the second set of the ornaments I colored. I put them all in sheet protectors (because I love sheet protectors) and made a binder for our Jesse Tree readings. I took this picture when I had glued the ornaments to the page but before I had found a binder for them. Most of the readings fit on one page. I always put them in the sheet protectors so you could read the entire reading without turning a page. If it needed two pages, I put them facing each other. I've uploaded a PDF file of the readings to a Google drive and you should be able to access it here and download it for your own use. If I recall, there are a few formatting blips, but it still works.

It would be nice to read each night from an actual Bible, but this book is much easier for daily prayer time with young children. I grab the book and we're ready to go. The kids can look through the ornaments for the matching one for the day.

We don't have an actual Jesse Tree. One of these days Kansas Dad will make one for me, but I have to figure out a good place to put it so I'm not in a hurry. In the meantime, we taped them to the side of the bookcase (high enough to keep them away from the two year old; they're destructive by nature, you know).

I think the Jesse Tree in 2012 here on the Range was a success. I was a little sad to notice that First Son did not seem as interested in the picture books each day, even the new ones, but he was always focused for our Jesse Tree readings. I felt a little like the Holy Spirit led me to put all the pieces of the Jesse Tree together this year because First Son needed a little more depth to our Advent. 

You can find a lot more wonderful ideas in Catherine and Peter Fournier's books or on their website:


  1. We sort of did a Jesse Tree this year. I'd like to commit but I'm still not sure on which one. I have that book, I'll have to re-check theirs out. I like the O antiphons as well, this year we just did them as part of our "sort of" Jesse Tree. ;-D

    And oh I have the same thoughts about the Bible. We have been doing a Psalm or short Scripture as part of our morning prayer, and as much as I'd love the kids to see me reading from the actual Bible, the Magnificat is soooooo handy.

    I was going to say something else but now it is completely gone.....

  2. Hey, I haven't even started December yet on my blog, so you are way ahead of me! We tried to do a Jesse tree this year, but didn't quite get it. I had ornaments for the kids to color and put together, but we didn't get all of them done. And I never got the tree actually put up. I have a small fake Christmas tree I was going to use and keep it in the classroom area. I console myself with the thought that there's always next year!

  3. H of B, I tell myself there's always next year all the time!

    Monica, I never know what to do about the Bible. I try to remember to tell them I'm reading words exactly as they are in the Bible. I guess that has to be enough for now.

  4. Glad it's not just me (on the Bible thing). I suppose if we/our children are getting scripture it really doesn't matter that much from where it is begin read. I mean, the Word of God is the Word of God, right?

    We just taped our jesse tree ornaments on our kitchen cabinet where we display school/seasonal things.


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