Their eyes are still sleepy, their voices groggy, but they pile out of their rooms, scrambling for the afghans grandma crocheted, and for the best, most snuggly corners of the sofa and “comfy chair.” It’s morning before dad leaves for work, and it’s our time to share our hearts and our Papa’s thoughts before he goes. At Christmas-time, the Jesse Tree is how we do that.
There are a few Christmas traditions our family has come to treasure, and the Jesse Tree devotional is one of them. It started a few years ago when a dear friend organized an ornament swap between several homeschool families in our community. Each family created two ornaments, in enough quantity for every family to have one. Then we met at a park (with treats to share, of course) for a play-date, and swapped hand-crafted ornaments. I’ve come to treasure these rustic little ornaments near as much as the ones my own children made, because i know the faces of the no-longer-little people who created them. (Below is our “stump of Jesse.” read more about its meaning here!)
Each day of December, there is a devotional thought that follows the lineage of Jesus, from creation to the cross, telling the “real Christmas story” in all its rich glory. There are several books that follow the Jesse tree, but our family uses the book The Advent Jesse Tree, and each year, it’s the first item out of the Christmas boxes.
In our house, we take turns hanging the ornaments. We use a small, rustic tree we bought just for the Jesse Tree.
Some years we’ve had better listeners than others. Some days we’ve had to play “catch up” on our devotional time. But every Christmas when we read the final thought, I am awed by the anticipation and the fulfillment, literally the best gift we receive, of God’s love poured out through history.
Does your family have a tradition that you hold precious? Please let me know below!