As I've written before, the Jesse Tree is an Advent tradition I've come to cherish with my children. These unique readings for Advent use Scripture from throughout the Old and New Testaments to point to Christ's coming, which makes Christmas all the more meaningful and poignant.
While many may see the Bible as a grouping of stories and instructions, it's really one Big Story of God's relationship with his people, how that relationship was broken, and how God pursues his people to redeem them and to gather them back to himself. Christ is the central figure in God's redemptive plan, and thus Christmas is rightfully the joyous time when we celebrate his birth. The set of readings used in the Jesse Tree highlight each part of that grand story. What a joy to prepare for Christmas in its proper context!
I must admit – the guide published here today is only an abridged version of Nourishing Joy's Jesse Tree Guide. As regular readers of this blog know, I am due with our third child any day now and I simply don't have time to polish off the full guide in time for this year's Advent. So, in its place, I am publishing this abridged version and hope it will serve your family well.
From the introduction:
What a joy it is to teach our children the story of God’s love for His people, especially at Christmas time! The Jesse Tree is one of my favorite activities of the year and I hope it becomes a favored tradition in your family as well.
In my original research about the Jesse Tree, I realized there is no one “official” set of readings, so I felt it necessary to create our own for our family. In doing so, I also added 13 readings after Christmas to coincide with the twelve days of Christmas and Epiphany, merely because the Gospel story doesn’t stop at the birth of Christ and I want the full context of the salvation story available to my children each year. Thus, our suggested reading list varies a bit from other lists you may find.
It should be noted that some readings are merely a verse or two, while others are several chapters long (usually to capture an entire story). On the days where there is an exceptionally long passage, I encourage you either to read the whole passage ahead of time so that you can summarize it for your child, or find the story in a good Children’s Bible to read aloud. In the full version of this guide, we include “focus” passages for the long readings to help facilitate discussion, but in this abridged guide, only the full passages are listed.
Many blessings to you and your family through this holy time of year!
Download the abridged guide here: