Advent Challenge – Day 3 – Jesse Tree
The Jesse tree is a little bit more of a time commitment, but thanks to a lot of fantastic online resources, you can make it as simple or complicated as you like.
The Jesse tree has its origins in early Church art. Designs depicting Jesus’ family tree, stemming from the line of Jesse, with Mary and Joseph at the top, and the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden combined over the year’s to what we now have as the custom of the Jesse tree. It uses different symbols representing the genealogy of Jesus, along with the names (or titles) of Jesus from the O Antiphons that lead up to the birth of Christ . If you are unfamiliar with the O Antiphons, I’ll be going into more detail on those starting December 17th.
First off, you’ll need a tree, or a branch, or some kind of hanging apparatus. Fortunately for us, our landlord left behind this fake tree that had Christmas lights already on it. It worked out as a perfect Jesse tree! If you already have your Christmas tree up, you can use that to hang the ornaments, it can be a great reminder on Christmas day about our journey to Christ! But in case you don’t have a spare tree lying around, you can always pick up a few branches that may have fallen down in a wind storm and stick them in a vase, or make one out of construction paper and just stick it on the wall. Not crafty enough for that? Stick the ornaments anywhere! Hang up a string between a doorway, or if your house is like mine, you can hang them off random nails all over the house. Play a game with your kids and “hide the ornaments” somewhere, and they can seek and find a new one each day!
Now about those ornaments….as I mentioned earlier, I’m not crafty, so making my own ornaments for the tree was just not going to happen. I found some simple patterns for ornaments at Organic Living for a Healthy Family. You can download either the pre-coloured ones, or the black and white templates and colour them yourselves, or let your children colour them! If you’re the crafty type, or your kids are, make some out of salt-dough. When you hang the ornaments, you can read out the Scripture that goes along with the symbol. I’ve been using the resources over at Catholic Culture for the appropriate Scripture verses, but for the most part, since I have toddlers, I’ve been explaining the story in my own words or using a Children’s Bible.
It’s still early in the Advent season and easy to catch up if this is something you’d like to do. If you think you need more time, you can always decide to start on the 17th and just do the O Antiphons (which are the best part in my opinion anyway!).
What else we did today for Advent: