Haven't heard of a Jesse Tree? I hadn't either until a few years ago. Here's a link that explains it a little bit.
The point is supposed to be that every day during Advent you read some scriptures - starting with the creation of the world - and that bring you all the way up to the birth of Christ.
For each day, you choose a symbol to put on a tree. Some people use a dry branch, some people use a felt hanging tree. We use a small pre-lit Christmas tree.
The symbols can be made out of anything. We've used pipe cleaners and construction paper and yarn and cotton balls. Our most successful ornaments so far have been the ones make with oven-bake clay.
It's not hard to find lists of suggested readings and symbols for each day. This year I'm taking mine from the National Catholic Register, because I was reading it at lunch the other day, while thinking I had to find a list to use for the Jesse Tree, I turned to the back page - and there was a calendar with all the information I could need. I decided it was a sign and I need look no further.
The readings for today were Genesis 1:1-3; 27 and 31 (we read all of Genesis 1 because I thought they could easily sit through that) and John 1:1-5, 14. I like this list of readings because it includes both the old and new testament. We discussed as we read, and when we read the line in John where it says "And the Word was made flesh" Pippi had an 'ah-ha' moment. "I've heard that line before," she said "but I never understood it till now."
The symbol for today is the world. Here are two models of the earth that the children made last year and which have been re-hung on the Jesse Tree this year.
We've been doing the Jesse Tree for several years now - or more accurately, I should say, trying to do. We never seem to get beyond the first week before we get so bogged down that we end up doing several days at once and then fall behind completely by the end.
This year, I plan to blog about the Jesse Tree each day - hopefully that will help keep us up to speed on it.
I also decided that instead of having them make the ornament the day of the reading, we would get a bit ahead - so today the ornaments for the rest of the week were made. Next weekend they'll make for the following week. Hopefully this will help.
So - tune in tomorrow for Day 2 - "The Fall".