The Jesse Tree is a wonderful way to celebrate advent. I first heard about it last year, when Advent season was almost over. My kids are ages 9, 8, 6, and 1. I wanted a meaningful tradition that they would continue with their kids. For the past few years I have begun to feel that the traditional candy Advent calendars were really lacking something. As with most other Catholic moms, my intent is always to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas.
Last year when I saw my first Jesse Tree I knew. This was it, I thought. I made a promise to prepare my Jesse tree project early and have it ready for my kids to enjoy on December 1. I’m not much of a sewer, and although I like to craft, my projects don’t always turn out as great as I would like. So I decided to draw them with pencil and paper. Once I had that part done I scanned each image and uploaded them to a free drawing program available online. There I digitized them and colored them in. Of course I thought about my 6 year old son and how he loves to do art as well. So I made a second set in black and white, too.
Each night during advent I take about 20 minutes to read together with my 4 kids a story from our Children’s Catholic Bible. All the stories have been carefully selected according to the Bible verses and dates listed on Catholic Culture’s website. The Jesse tree is a way to show children just how long mankind had to wait for the Messiah. It also teaches them about all of Jesus’ ancestors from the time of Jesse, King David’s father, to his own earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. My kids look forward to our special time together. I am amazed at how well these stories resonate with them. I’m also learning a lot about the Bible too.
I want to encourage all Catholic moms to try making a Jesse Tree with their kids for advent. It doesn’t have to be crafty or expensive. You don’t need a lot of time to make one. You can just print out my free Jesse tree ornaments and hang them on your own Christmas tree. You can even hang them on a bare wall. If you get busy and miss a night, just continue with two stories the next night. You and your children will bond, your faith will increase, and the focus for the season will revolve around celebrating Jesus’ birthday rather than getting toys from Santa.
Copyright 2013 Caryn Talty