Friday, November 30, 2012

Jesse Tree 2012 - The First Week

So, here's a possible plan for the first week of Advent/Jesse Tree. I've included a number of different resources for telling the stories each night. Of course, you may read them directly from scripture or you may use a children's picture Bible of your choice, depending on the age of your children and how long you think they can listen.

Jesse Tree ornaments for the first week of Advent

Sunday, December 2nd

Light the first candle of Advent, the candle for Hope, and have a little conversation about hope. In our house it looks a little like this:

Me: "This first candle is a symbol of hope. What is hope?"
Mane: "Hope is when you're waiting for something."
Me: "Right, hope is when we believe something will happen and we're waiting for it. What are we waiting for?"
Mane: "We're waiting for Christmas!"
Me: "What's so special about Christmas?"
Mane: "It's when we celebrate the birth of Jesus."

Now that conversation has changed some over the years because we taught Mane that Christmas is probably not when Jesus was born. The season of Advent, though, is a time set aside for us to focus on the gift of Jesus, even if he was born at a totally different time of year.


We'll be reading Isaiah 11 to introduce the Jesse Tree. Then we'll read the Story of Creation.Have have used these books (not all at once, but over the course of several years)

In The Beginning by Steve Turner, illustrated by Jill Newton (the whole book)

The Children's Illustrated Bible - stories retold by Selina Hastings, illustrated by Eric Thomas - chapter on "The Creation"

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham, illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson (chapter 3)

The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Bee Willey (chapter entitled "The Jesse Tree" and the beginning of "Paradise Garden")

This year we will be reading Days 1 & 2 from Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional.


Following the reading, we hang Jesse Tree ornaments. Then we open the Advent calendar.  The symbols for this night are:
- Tree
- Globe/Earth

Monday, December 3rd


Tonight's reading is about the Fall of humans, the first sin.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "The Garden of Eden"

One Wintry Night (Graham) - chapters 4 and 5

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - finish chapter entitled "Paradise Garden"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 3



Tuesday, December 4th


Tonight's reading is the story of Noah. A picture book we have often used to tell this story is:

Noah's Ark written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (You have to scroll down the linked page. It was published in 2002.)

You could also read:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "Noah's Ark," "The Flood"

One Wintry Night (Graham) - Chapter 6

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "A Boat Full of Animals."

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 4



Wednesday, December 5th


This night's story is the calling of Abraham and God's promise to make Abraham into a great nation. Readings can be found in:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "Abram's Journey"

One Wintry Night (Graham) -very, very beginning of Chapter 7; just a tiny bit is said about Abraham

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "Strange Visitors"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 5



Thursday, December 6th


Tonight's story is the story of Isaac. This is a difficult story, and you may want to do some reading about the context and meaning of the story before deciding if it's an appropriate time to pass it on to your children. I recommend this article from Hebrew For Christians: The Sacrificed Seed of Abraham. It is long and intense, but that is exactly the type of article needed to really work through the complexities of this story. (If you choose not to cover this story with your children this year, simply move on to the next day's reading. There will be other places this Advent where you can stretch other stories over several days.)

Here are the places where you can find tonight's story:

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "Abram, Sarai, and Hagar," "Abraham's Two Sons," "The Sacrifice of Isaac"

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "A Test of Love"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Days 6 and 7


Ram or goat

Friday, December 7th


Tonight we read the story of Jacob's dream of the ladder and the angels ascending and descending the ladder to heaven. In this story God renews the Abrahamic covenant with Abraham's grandson, Jacob. Indeed, Jacob goes on to become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - "Jacob's Ladder" (You may also want to include chapters leading up to this in order to understand who Jacob was and how he came to be in the place where he had the dream.)

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) - chapter "Stairway to Heaven"

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 8



Saturday, December 8th: The First Day of Chanukah

Saturday marks the beginning of Chanukah this year! Tradition has it that each member of a family should have their own menorah/chanukiah. Candles are lit from right to left. The center candle is the shamash, the servant candle, and is used to the light the other candles each night. Before our Advent readings, we will say the blessings involved with the lighting of the chanukiah and light the first chanukiah candle. Then we'll light the Advent candle, tell the story, hang the Jesse Tree ornament,  open Advent calendars...THEN we'll play dreidel and eat chanukah treats! (I'll be writing more about Chanukah over the next week, now that I've completed this post on the first week of Advent!)


Tonight's story is the story of Joseph. This one is long and will take some time. If you skipped the story of Isaac, you can easily stretch the story of Joseph over two days. It is worth noting that both Isaac and Joseph are prophetic pictures of the coming Messiah. Both involve stories of redemption. Both are foundational to the establishment and continuance of the Jewish people, from whom that Messiah would come. This fits beautifully with the first night of Chanukah, as Chanukah is also a story of miracles and salvation.

The Children's Illustrated Bible (Hastings) - all or select chapters about Joseph

The Jesse Tree (McCaughrean) uses two chapters to cover this story: "The Dreamer" and "Famine and Plenty."

Ann Voskamp's Advent Devotional - Day 9


A Coat of Many Colors


This is the 7rd post in a series of posts about Advent, Christmas, Jesse Tree & Chanukah traditions. See the other posts here:
Season's Traditions
Jesse Tree

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE how you are walking folks through the Jesse Tree/Advent process. Such a help for those of us embarking upon the journey for the first time.


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