Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Traditions

We have many Christmas traditions in our family,but one we started last year was Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is a centuries-old family Advent devotion.  It has particular value since it helps both the children and adults a like to locate Jesus, the Messiah, within the lineage of the shepherd boy who became King of Israel–David, son of Jesse.
Our Tree from last year day 10

The whole idea of the Jesse Tree comes right out of a classic Advent passage from the prophet Isaiah: “A shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (Is 11:1).  The Jesse Tree is hung with ornaments representing Old Testament people and events and lead up to Jesus.  The traditional symbols hung on the tree are based on the genealogy of Jesus as recounted by the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

You can set up a tree or branches with or without leaves. I have even seen some people who have their children draw a Christmas Tree they hang on the wall and then each day they draw and color the ornament to past on their tree.

 For the ornaments, you can either buy a Jesse Tree kit or just craft them yourself. In the posts below you will see a picture of the ornament we use, because I wanted to give you ideas for how you could use ornaments you already have, make them, or be on the lookout for them in advance.Traditionally, there is one ornament for each day of Advent.  You start at the base of the tree with Adam and Eve.  At the top of the tree at the very end of the season comes a crib representing the baby Jesus.  There’s a brief scripture reading for every symbol (see below).  If you read these readings and contemplate them and the symbols to which they are linked, by December 25th you and your family will have a much deeper understanding of the history of salvation and the meaning of Christmas.

December 1 - The Jesse Tree

Tree Ornament

I Samuel 16:1-13
Who Jesse was (King David's father)

Isaiah 11:1, 10
Prophecy about Christ coming from the "stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

December 2 - Creation

Sun Ornament
Genesis 1

John 1:1-5
Jesus was from the beginning with God, Jesus is light

Big Picture Bible
"The Very Good Beginning" page 15

The Beginner's Bible
"The Beginning" page 7

December 3 - Adam and Eve

Apple Ornament
Genesis 2 and 3
Sin entered the world, but God promised to send Someone to crush Satan's power

Romans 5:12-19
Sin came in to the world through Adam, but God gives us life through Christ

Big Picture Bible
"A Very Sad Day" page 37

The Beginner's Bible
"Adam and Eve" page 14
"The Sneaky Snake" page 18

December 4 - Noah

Noah's Ark Ornament
Genesis 6:9 - 9:17
God's promises and covenant

Big Picture Bible
"Life Outside the Garden" page 51

The Beginner's Bible"Noah's Ark" page 26

December 5 - Abraham

Tent Ornament

Genesis 12:1-7, 15:1-6
God's promise to bless the earth through Abraham

Big Picture Bible
"God's Big Promise" page 67

The Beginner's Bible
"A New Home" page 39

December 6 - Isaac

Bundle of Twigs Ornament

Genesis 22:1-14
Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son points to God's sacrifice to send His only Son to be the perfect sacrifice for us

December 7 - Jacob

Ladder Ornament

Genesis 27:41 - 28:22
Jesus is our "ladder" to God

The Beginner's Bible
"Jacob's Dream" page 63

December 8 - Joseph

Coat of Many Colors Ornament

December 9 - Moses (Passover)

Lamb Ornament

Exodus 12:1-30
The blood of a lamb on the doorposts of the Israelites' houses was the sign for God to spare His people

John 1:29
Jesus is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world

Mark 14:12-16
Celebration of the Passover becomes the celebration of the Lord's Supper

Big Picture Bible
"God's People Become Great" page 103
"God's Great Sign" page 123 (first part)

The Beginner's Bible
"Ten Plagues" page 104

December 10 - Moses (Manna)

Bread Ornament

Exodus 16
God gave His people manna to eat in the wilderness, to save them from hunger

John 6:31-59
Jesus is the Bread of Life

The Beginner's Bible"Food From Heaven" page 116

December 11 - Moses (10 Commandments)

Ten Commandments Tablets Ornament
Exodus 20:1-36
God gave His people His law
Romans 10:4
Christ is the fulfillment of the law

Big Picture Bible
"God's Great Sign" (second part, beginning on page 132)

The Beginner's Bible
"Ten Commandments" page 120

December 12 - Ruth

Wheat Ornament

Ruth 1-4
Ruth was not born in to God's people, but she loved God and was humble and obedient. She became David's grandmother, part of the lineage of Christ.

The Beginner's Bible
"Ruth and Naomi" page 152

December 13 - Samuel

Lamp Ornament

I Samuel 3
As a little boy, Samuel heard God and believed Him

The Beginner's Bible
"A Voice in the Night" page 160

December 14 - Jesse

Shepherd's Staff Ornament

I Samuel 16:1-13
Samuel annointed Jesse's youngest son, David, because God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance

Isaiah 53:2
prophecy that Christ would not attract us by His appearance

The Beginner's Bible
"A Good Heart" page 168

December 15 - David (and Goliath)

Slingshot Ornament

I Samuel 17:1-51
David remembered God's provision in the past, trusted God, and would not stand for Goliath insulting God

Big Picture Bible
"Going In To God's Place" (second part, beginning on page 156)

The Beginner's Bible
"David and Goliath" page 173

December 16 - David (Psalmist)

Harp Ornament

Psalm 23
God teaches us how to praise Him in the Psalms
The Psalms point to the Savior

Hebrews 13:20
Jesus is our Shepherd

December 17 - Solomon

Crown Ornament
I Kings 3
God gave Solomon wisdom

I Kings 6
Solomon built the Temple

Big Picture Bible
"God's Blessings Grow" page 167

The Beginner's Bible
"The Wise King" page 194

December 18 - Elijah

Altar Ornament

I Kings 18: 16-46
Israel was worshiping false gods
God showed His people that He was the true God

Big Picture Bible
"Another Very Sad Day" page 187

The Beginner's Bible
"Fire From Heaven" page 209

December 19 - Prophecy

Key Ornament

Isaiah 9:1-7
God sent prophets to tell Israel of the promised Redeemer

Big Picture Bible
"God's Promise Remains" page 211

December 20 - Daniel

Lion Ornament

Daniel 6
Trusting in the Lord
God's protection for His people

The Beginner's Bible
"Daniel and the Lions" page 251

December 21 - Jonah

Fish Ornament

Jonah 1-4
Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and nights
God's desire for the people of Ninevah to repent

The Beginner's Bible
"Noah and the Big Fish" page 257

December 22 - Joseph

Saw, Hammer, or Toolbox Ornament
Matthew 1: 18-25
Joseph was a carpenter who listened to the angel of the Lord and was obedient in faith

December 23 - Mary

Silhouette of Mary Ornament
Luke 1:26-38 and 46-55
Mary's faith and obedience, and praise for God's plan

The Beginner's Bible
"An Angel Visits Mary" page 266

December 24 - Travel To Bethlehem

A Scroll Ornament (for taking the census)
A Suitcase Ornament

Luke 2:1-5

Big Picture Bible
"Many Silent Years" page 229

December 25 - Birth of Christ

Manger Scene Ornament

Luke 2:1-20

Big Picture Bible
"God's Promised One Is Born" page 243
"God's Promised One Is Announced" page 259

The Beginner's Bible
"Baby Jesus Is Born" page 271
"Shepherds Visit" page 277

Here are some additional Scripture verses

 The World is Created – Globe – Genesis 1:24-28 Adam and Eve – Snake and Apples – Genesis 3:1-24
Noah and the Flood – Rainbow – Genesis 6:11-22; 86-12; 9:11-17
Abraham – Camel – Genesis 12:1-7:13:2-18; 18:1
Sarah – Baby – Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7
Isaac – Ram – Genesis 22:1-14
Jacob – Ladder – Genesis 27:41-28:22
Joseph – Multi-coloured Coat – Genesis 37:1-36
Moses – Burning Bush – Exodus 3:1-10
Miriam – Tambourine – Exodus 15:19-21
Samuel – Lamp – 1 Samuel 3:1-21
Jesse – Branch – Isaiah 11:1
David – Harp – 1 Samuel 16:14-23
Solomon – Crown – 1 Kings 3:3-28
Isaiah – Throne – Isaiah 6:1-8
Jeremiah – Tablets of Law – Jeremiah 31:31-34
Angels – Angel – Hebrews 1:1-14
Malachi – Trumpet – Malachi 3:1-4
Zechariah and Elizabeth – Baby - Luke 1:39-45
Mary – Angel – Luke 1:29-35
John the Baptist – River – Matthew 3:1-6
Joseph of Nazareth – Hammer/Saw – Matthew 1:18-25
Bethlehem – Star – Matthew 2:1-12
Birth of Christ – Crib – Luke 2:1-7

Setting Up The Tree:

I got this idea from another blog mom, Mary over at TOS home-school Review Team who gave some wonderful ways to make setting up your Christmas tree part of your traditions simply by talking about what Christmas means to us with the children and specially how the symbols we have today can point us to Jesus.   
  • Evergreen to symbolize the eternal life we have in Christ and God’s eternal love for us demonstrated in sending His Son
  • Red—represent His blood shed for you and me. The price He paid.
  • Gold—This is His crow in glory as the Son of God
  • Purple- His royal robe.
  • White - His purity.  The Lamb without blemish.
  • Star- the star over the manger
  • Lights- stars in the heavens at the time of His birth or He is the light of the world.
  • Angels- for the heavenly host who sang
  • Silver—His promises fulfilled
  • Blue– Creation In the beginning He made the heavens and the earth
If you have other ideas for ornaments that could represent a concept or person, or if you find a great place to buy them, please leave a comment in that particular day's post. I definitely want to replace or improve on several of our ornaments, so I'm open to suggestion!

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