This is a unique spin on the traditional Christmas tree; it is essentially a representation of Jesus’ lineage. A Jesse tree is a way to teach children the salvation story from the beginning of the Bible; it even starts with the story of creation. Each day (or week if you prefer to do it on Sundays), children add an ornament that highlights God’s plan and love for his people. It walks through many Biblical stories that children are probably familiar with and connects them all to the amazing birth of Christ.
Well-known author, Ann Voskamp, recently created her own version of a pop-up Jesse tree with ornaments that families can gather around daily to learn of the lineage and history of Jesus. Each day comes with a devotional that is simple for parents to follow. Voskamp also published Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas a few years ago. This book walks through each day of Advent and provides a link for a free Jesse Tree ornament printable, as well as questions and projects families can do together each day.
How to get started:
- Find a tree that is separate from your traditional tree; this helps the Jesse Tree appear special and intentional. It can be an old Christmas tree, or you can simply create one out of green felt or poster board and attach it to a wall. Families can create one in the house, or if you are a ministry leader you can make one for your children’s ministry area.
- Create the ornaments. How complex and detailed you want your tree to be is up to you. If you know someone who loves to stitch or sew, they may be willing to create a nice set for you or your children’s ministry to keep. Several websites offer free ornament templates that kids can simply color, cut, and hang on the tree.
- Enjoy your tree! Each day read the designated passage and hang the ornament on the tree that corresponds with the passage. By the time Christmas morning arrives, you will have a tree filled with scripture that highlights the reason why we celebrate. Scripture passages can be found in the books listed above or also through a simple online search.