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After recalling that conversation I had with my friend, I couldn't quite remember what the Advent-style tree was called, so I went searching on-line. I found many different versions of this story tree, but they all shared the same name...a Jesse Tree...and stem from a passage in Isaiah.
A shoot will come up from the root of Jesse...
Although a few of the resources I found had printable tags you could use, I was not impressed with the chronology or emphasis of any of the trees I saw. So, I decided to make one myself. Using some branches, a vase, some scrapbook paper, ribbon, and markers, I set out to create a pictorial account of the story of Christ.
I introduced my completed tree during the first week of Advent. Each night at dinner in place of our normal family devotions, we read a key passage of Scripture, discussed the symbol that I had assigned to that particular portion, how that character or event fit into the story of Christ, and hung a Christmas tag on our tree. By Christmas, we had journeyed through the whole of the Old Testament and eagerly hung the final tag, rejoicing in a story that could only have been written by the hand of God.
Although not all of the pieces represent an actual family member of Christ, they each reflect a key player in God's timeline of preparation. Our family tree symbols and Scripture references are as follows:
- Creation- the world (Gen. 1)
- Adam and Eve- a snake wrapped around an apple (Gen. 3:1-19)
- Noah- an ark (Gen. 6:9-8:22)
- Abraham- stars (Gen. 12:1-9, 22:17-18)
- Isaac- ram's head (Gen. 22:1-14)
- Jacob- ladder (Gen. 27-28:22)
- Joseph- striped coat (Gen. 37)
- Moses- burning bush (Ex. 3:1-10)
- Moses- lamb (Ex. 12)
- Moses- 10 Commandment tablets (Deut. 5:1-22)
- Rahab- scarlet chord (Joshua 2)
- Joshua- trumpet (Joshua 6:1-23)
- Gideon- pitcher (Judges 7:2-23)
- Ruth- stalks of wheat (Ruth 1-2:18)
- David- horn of oil or shepherd's staff(1 Sam. 16:1-13)
- Elijah- altar of stones (1 Kings 18:1-39)
- King Hezekiah- a tent (2 Kings 19:8-35)
- Queen Esther- a crown (Esther 2-5)
- Isaiah- tree stump (Isaiah 9:1)
- Daniel- lion's face (Daniel 6)
- Jonah- whale (Jonah 1-3:5)
- Habbakuk- a watch tower (Hab. 2:1-4)
- Zechariah- a tablet (Luke 1:5-25)
- Mary- an angel (Luke 1:26-38)
- John the Baptist- sandals (Matt. 3)
- Joseph- a hammer (Matt. 1:18-25)
- Magi- a crown with a star over it (Matt. 2:1-12)
- Jesus- manger (Luke 2:1-21)
Since making our handmade set, I have found a companion book called The Jesse Tree and a fantastic printable Jesse Tree curriculum from New York Time's best-selling author Ann Voskamp. Be sure to head over to grab this wonderful free gift. I have decided to continue on with our homemade set, however, as it was an instant family classic last year.