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Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange

November 23, 2012

When my friend, Jessica, invited me to be a part of her Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange, it took me all of 30 seconds to say “yes” and sign up for my ornament. I chose the slingshot. I had been wanting to incorporate a Jesse Tree into our Advent traditions for a number of years, but never found the time to craft 25 different ornaments in order for this to happen. That’s why an ornament exchange is, in a word, brilliant!

Remember the Toddler Busy Bag Swap? Same idea here. Each person (25 persons total) was assigned a different Jesse Tree Ornament and tasked with the job of duplicating their ornament 25 times. Doing it this way makes things easier, more affordable, and much more time efficient.

If you are unfamiliar with a Jesse Tree, my friend, Jess, summed it up well in her invitation:

“Using a Jesse Tree at Advent involves a series of 25 daily scriptures, devotional readings, and symbolic ornaments. Each day’s theme teaches a piece of redemption history, beginning with creation and culminating with the birth of Jesus. It is visual, interactive, and adaptable to all ages. A Jesse Tree is a great way to lead children through the story and build anticipation for Christ’s coming. Of course, we as parents will benefit, too!”

There are several different versions of the Jesse Tree tradition, but all of them focus on the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Christ. The ornaments serve as a wonderful symbol to help children connect more deeply with each passage of Scripture.

Our family will begin our Jesse Tree today in order to give us a full 25 days (one ornament each day) in our home before we head to Texas for the holidays. We will not include these ornaments on our large Christmas tree, but a shorter table top version.

One thing Jess asked us to do (once the exchange was over) was to post pictures of the ornaments on our blog. A number of us noted that when looking for ornament ideas online, we found very few resources that were actually helpful. Our hope is that families who want to incorporate a Jesse Tree into their Advent season could find help and inspiration here.

As far as Jesse Tree devotional resources go, we have this book (pictured below) and plan to use it this year in conjunction with our ornaments and Scripture passages.

Here are a few other devotionals you could use that are free online:

Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Devotional

Jesse Tree Devotions

If your family uses a Jesse Tree, please let us know what devotional you use or any additional resources that could be helpful.  I’m sure we will tweak and change things a bit as  the children get older, but I’m happy for us to get started this year!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Day 1- Globe

Story of Creation: Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-4

Day 2- Apple and a Snake

Story of the First Sin: Genesis 3:1-10, 23; Isaiah 53:6; 1 John 1:8-10; Isaiah 59:2

Day 3- Ark with a Rainbow

Story of the Ark: Genesis 5-9:7; Romans 6:23; Joshua 23:14

Day 4- Camel and a Tent

Story of the Call to Abram: Genesis 12:1-7; Hebrews 11:8; Matthew 1:1

Day 5- A Lamb

Story of Isaac and the Lamb/Ram: Genesis 22:1-13; Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19

Day 6- A Ladder

Story of Jacob’s Ladder: Genesis 27:41-28:22

Day 7- A Colorful Coat

Story of Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors: Genesis 37-50, especially 50:18-21; Romans 8:28

Day 8- A Tablet with Numbers

Story of Moses and the Ten Commandments: Exodus 1-15; 20; 32:15-18; Psalm 119:11; Galatians 3:19

Day 9- A Cluster of Grapes

Story of Canaan, the Promised Land of Blessings: Numbers 13-14:38; 24:17; Psalm 103:2

Day 10- A Sheaf of Wheat

Story of Ruth and Boaz: Ruth 1-4; Matthew 1:5

Day 11- A Slingshot

Story of King David: 1 Samuel 16-17

Day 12- A Scroll or Bible

Story of Josiah Finding the Law: 2 Kings 22-23:25; Psalm 119:105

Day 13- a Stump with a Fresh Shoot or Leaf

Prophecy of a Shoot from the Stump of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-5, 10; John 1:14a; 1 Samuel 16:1-3;

Revelation 5:5

Day 14- a Lion and a Lamb

Prophecy of the Lion and the Lamb Resting Together: Isaiah 11:6-10; Matthew 25:31-46;

Revelation 21:1-7; Philippians 2:9-11

Day 15- a Dove and a Crown

Prophecy of the Prince of Peace: Isaiah 2:2-4; 9:2-7; John 14:27

Day 16- a Lamb and a Staff

Prophecy of a Gentle Shepherd: Isaiah 40:9-11; Psalm 23; John 10:27; John 10:11-16

Day 17- a Cross

Prophecy of a Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53; Luke 2:8-18; John 19:11-18; John 10:15; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22; Romans 5:9-10

Day 18- a Heart with writing on it

Prophesy of the New Covenant: Jeremiah 31:31-24; Acts 16:31; Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Hebrews 8-10

Day 19- a Bethlehem Town silhouette

Prophesy of Bethlehem: Micah 5:2-4; Luke 2:1-7

Day 20- a Fiery Furnace

Story of the Exile: 2 Kings 17:1-23; 25:1-17; Daniel 3; Jeremiah 1:8

Day 21- a Brick Wall

Story of the Return to the Land: Ezra 1; Nehemiah 6:15-16; Malachi 3:1; Revelation 22:20

Day 22- a Star

Story of the Star: Matthew 2:1-12; Numbers 24:17; Revelation 22:16; 2 Peter 1:19

Day 23- a Candle or Light

Story of the Light of the World: Luke 1:26-56; 2:21-33; John 1:4-9; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Isaiah 42:6;

John 8:12; Revelation 21:23-24; Isaiah 60:1-3

Day 24- an Angel

Story of Angels Proclaiming the Coming of Christ: Luke 2:8-14; Hebrews 1:1-4; Psalm 91:11

Day 25- a Baby in a Manger

Story of the Birth of Jesus: Matthew 2:1-7; Luke 2:1-21

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2012 8:46 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this! I really want to do an exchange too. Maybe I’ll have to coordinate one here in Wheaton. Have to get to know enough people first!

  2. November 27, 2012 7:50 pm

    I love this idea! I haven’t heard of it before. My kids are so visual, they would really connect with this.

  3. Rachel permalink
    December 5, 2012 2:41 pm

    Did you find resources online for making each ornament or did you all come up with your own ideas?

  4. October 18, 2013 3:17 pm

    My name is Nicole and I found your post looking for inspiration for my Jesse tree. I was assigned day 4 and your is the best I have seen. How did you do that? Any chance you could tell me how or I could hire you to make mine 🙂 seriously! Please let me know either way! Thanks!!

  5. November 5, 2014 5:44 pm

    Is there somewhere to show how to make the tent? 🙂 Pretty please

    • Dana permalink
      November 7, 2014 12:13 pm

      I love this tent.. however, we are using cardstock to make a tent front, adding burlap, pinning open the tent doors then trimming the excess burlap.

  6. December 5, 2014 8:30 am

    Thank you so much for this posting. This is my first year as a sunday school teacher and we are making these in our class as gifts for our church members. The kids are working so hard and are so excited about taking this task on . I am hoping this will be a new tradition for our church families.

  7. October 20, 2016 6:36 pm

    Love this idea! We’re going to be reading the book by Ann Voskamp this year, I’m trying to decide if I’d like to make ornaments.

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