Now, in case you're unfamiliar with the Jesse Tree as I was, it's basically a Christmas countdown that begins with Creation and focuses on stories leading up to Jesus' birth that point to his coming. I love looking at the big picture of the Bible, so I love looking at the prophecies and stories that give us a glimpse of our Savior. I was thrilled that such a kid-friendly version had come out, but when I started looking through it, I realized that it doesn't match up really well with most of the devotional and Scripture readings I've found and was interested in using. I discovered that the Scriptures and stories used vary about as much as the available resources out there and I wasn't overly impressed with the Oriental Trading Co. version. :/
But, I love the little tree it came with and I want to get some use out of it, so here's my plan:
I'm going to use the reading plan/symbols found here. This link has free printables to be colored that are simple and VERY preschool friendly in their look. At the end of the printout is a page with all the days in December and a list of Scriptures and symbols that correspond. I'll use my Oriental Trading Co. tree poster for the boys to hang their ornaments on this year, but there are some really neat ideas for using your family's Christmas tree, a large branch from a tree outside, or making your own fun tree out of pieces of wood like this one.
I plan to read the passages of Scripture outlined in the passage, but since the point of the project is to trace the history of the Bible leading up to Christ and show how the Old Testament points to him, I may also read stories that match up from The Jesus Storybook Bible as well since all the stories are wrapped up with a paragraph anticipating the coming Messiah (and I think it might help the boys make the connection of what this is all about a little better). I'll have the boys color the symbols while we talk about them and hang them on the tree. I was feeling ambitious the other night and thought about writing out short devotions to be used with preschoolers to go along with it, but I think I've decided that's a good idea for another year and a different season of life. :)
Here's a few other sites I found with slightly different reading plans and symbols that you might be interested in looking into:
A Holy Experience (if you subscribe to her site, she'll send you the advent e-book for free, complete with printable ornaments that are already colored)
Reformed Church in America (I found this reading plan and free printable ornaments plan plus some other great links to Jesse Tree kits you can purchase in this post from Desiring Virtue)
This Christmas countdown could be free if you use a site with the paper printables or a little pricey if you decided to make or purchase fancier ornaments. Either way, I've changed my mind that it's only for older kids and adults and am excited to see what Isaac and Silas learn this year as we study the stories that point to the coming of a Savior.
Just like the Advent Wreath, the Jesse Tree is fairly new to me. If your family uses the Jesse Tree, do you have a recommendation on which devotional resources to use or where you can find great ornaments?