For years, our family has used the Jesse Tree to help our children focus on Advent rather than Christmas-come-early. As the culture around us continues to become more secular, we find Christmas decorations and carols being brought out earlier and earlier. Pretty soon, we’re wishing each other Merry Thanksgivoween!
Not only that, but once Thanksgiving has passed, Christmas comes at us full-on, and in our culture, this often means that we are accosted with a constant barrage of consumerism that would make poor Linus pass out, let alone squirm! Ads constantly present huge, expensive electronics as a normal present to give to younger and younger children (we had a friend give his 4 year old an iPad the first year they were out because “she likes mine”), kids are pushed to ask their parents for more and more, and people treat Christmas shopping as some kind of drudgery rather than an opportunity to find a special gift for someone they love. Instead, we’re told that bigger is better! More presents is what the kids want!
Gracious, we’re raising a generation of Dudley Dursleys!
When our girls were very young, I think about 7 and 4, we decided to start a tradition of doing evening readings during Advent centered around a Jesse Tree. That year, I printed off paper ornaments that the girls cut out and colored in, and we hung them with ribbon from a bare branch in our living room.
I got more adventurous by 2008, and decided to use our Christmas tree, bare until Gaudette Sunday, as our Jesse Tree and had the girls make salt dough ornaments which they painted and I numbered for each day with a Sharpie.
In 2010, I’d had enough trying to read the Scripture verses on the backs of the ornaments and made this document with the readings in full and printed them off to keep in a three-prong folder, which my younger daughter decorated. In 2012, my girls made new ornaments for us to use, for alas! Salt dough ornaments do not last forever, no matter how carefully you wrap them in tissue paper!
While I re-post my Jesse Tree readings daily from December 1 through 25 every year, a sweet friend suggested that I keep a special page with links to the readings all in one place, for a quick and easy reference. And so that’s what this page is for. Here you’ll find my resources that I’ve used for the Jesse Tree, along with readings for the month.
Now, how do you get started? Here are some handy links for you to consider:
- First of all, what is a Jesse Tree? (It’s pretty neat, actually. Here’s a history of the whole idea, plus some ideas on how to implement it.)
- Daily Readings? I have to look all those up? (It’s okay, I took care of that for you!)
- Salt dough! I’ve never made that!! (Don’t worry, it’s not too hard to do. Hint: Even if you think you don’t need to, buy a new container of salt before you begin.)
- Whoa! Are you kidding me? I’m not making those with my kids! Where are some paper ornaments? Maybe something that I don’t even have to have them color. (Here’s another option for you, with blackline and full-color ornaments. Suggested readings could be different.)
- Okay, I don’t want to print that big file of readings up there. Can I just read them here instead? Absolutely! Below are the links for the daily readings (posted in 2012) with pictures of our home-made ornaments. Click away!
- December 1
- December 2
- December 3
- December 4
- December 5
- December 6
- December 7
- December 8
- December 9
- December 10
- December 11
- December 12
- December 13
- December 14
- December 15
- December 16
- December 17
- December 18
- December 19
- December 20
- December 21
- December 22
- December 23
- December 24
- December 25
- Can’t you just email me with these things so I don’t need to come back every day? (Sure! Just subscribe to my blog by clicking the link in the right-hand column!)