Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Day 2 - Grammar of Advent and the Jesse Tree!

December 2nd!  Day 2 of Advent!  Have you entered the free raffle to win the 2nd half Weeks 13-24 of Solagratiamom Teaching Plan???  Click HERE to do that first - there's only 1 more day left!!

Day 2 -we did our King Jesus tree again this year.  If you want instructions on how you can do one too, as well as the present for Jesus which is a Christmas tradition in our home - then click HERE.   

We are also on Day 2 of the Jesse tree!  Have you started one?  I've been asked what is the difference between a Jesse tree and Advent.  So here it is:  

Advent is the period of time beginning four Sundays before Christmas.  It can be used as a time of fasting, prayer and daily celebrations to anticipate the arrival of Jesus on Christmas day.  Two popular ways of marking Advent are: Advent Calendars and Advent Wreaths.  

Advent Calendar:   Many people use Advent Calendars to mark the days preceding Christmas with their families.  These can be done in a variety of ways from a traditional calendar to a "treat a day" type calendar which are often made to hold some small treat or note regarding an activity or treat for that day.  If you want some ideas on how to do this type of Calendar then you can look on Pinterest for a gazillion ideas!  I don't use a calendar per se with my kids.  I have a calendar for myself where I have written in the activities I have planned for us to do each day to celebrate Advent.  I already have the Jesse tree and Advent wreath up so it just seems like it would be too much to add a Calendar and make that too.  I'm not THAT crafty and ambitious!  :)

Advent Wreath:  The Advent wreath is often used in conjunction with this time period.  Each Sunday a candle is lit and one is added each week up to Christmas day.  It is symbolic of a few things....the evergreen wreath that the candles sit around is a symbol of eternity, the five candles are each representing the preparation spiritually of the coming of Christ and there are usually three purple candles and one pink candle with a white candle in the center of the wreath.  The first purple candle is representative of the prophets who foretold the birth of Christ and referred to as the "Prophecy Candle".  The second purple candle lit is representative of God's great Love in sending Christ and is referred to as the "Bethlehem Candle".  The third Sunday the pink candle is lit representing joy and is called the "Shepherd's Candle".  The last purple candle is lit the fourth Sunday, representative of peace and is called the "Angels Candle".  In the center is a white candle called the "Christ Candle" lit on Christmas Eve and it represents that Christ the light of the world, has come.  It is white to represent the pure, spotless, sinless Savior and those who are washed "whiter than show" when they receive Him.  It is a great way to mark the coming of Christ with your family to keep your Holiday Season focused on what is truly important.  Children love this visual, demonstrative way of marking the weeks prior to Christmas.  In our home we use it to talk about what each of those weeks means and to pray together during the burning of the candles.  If you haven't done one before and would like to give it a try, then check out this easy instructional blog post on making your own Advent Wreath for home with the kids from Peaceful Gatherings.

Here is our Advent Wreath.  So why do I have my Jesse tree in the middle (yes that's my Jesse tree for this year and I will get to that in a minute) you may ask?  Well to me it's the symbolism.  Before there was Jesus, there was the lineage leading up to His arrival.  
So what is a Jesse Tree?  It is meant to be a visual representation of the family tree or genealogy of Jesus.  It tells us the story beginning with Creation and continuing through the Old Testament to the coming of Christ.  It is the tracing of God's plan for man's Salvation.  The name comes from Isaiah 11:1  "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit."  Each day during Advent you add an ornament of your choosing (there are tons of ideas on Pinterest or the recommendations I make below) and you add them to a branch or small evergreen tree.  Each ornament represents a prophetic event or a person in the lineage -marking the coming of Christ.  

What a terrific visual for kids to trace the coming of the Savior.  You can't have Christ until you first have this broken, sinful line of fallen men and women who preceded Him and made way for His arrival and show so clearly our need for a Savior.  To me this Jesse tree in the middle represents that; the broken path that only God could travail with men to save them.  By way of gentile women like Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba - broken, abused, fallen -we see beauty from their ashes.  Men like David, a murderer and adulterer -we see beauty for ashes.  The list goes on and the beauty of the Jesse tree is that you are tracing that lineage and seeing how much God did to overcome man's sin to bring him Salvation.  I think the Jesse tree does that beautifully for us and our children. 

I normally like the unsightly leafless branches we find outside on our walks to represent the Jesse tree.  Again, because the symbolism of the ugliness of man's sin and the rough unlovely pathway through the lineage of Christ, all come to bear for me in that visual.  However, we couldn't resist this pretty little holy tree branch when we went searching for our Jesse tree - so this year it will be a prettier pathway to Christ's coming than normal for us.  I will remove the Jesse tree from my Advent Wreath when we get to Christmas Eve and replace it with the white candle (also a beautiful visual for me). I also remove it when we lite the candles (just incase you were worried for the safety of my house - lol).  

This year I am reading through The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.  While it may be a little deep for the younger ones (though easily adapted to them after you yourself have read through it) - I would highly recommend reading this book for your own personal study.  It will transform how you see the lineage and journey God took to get Salvation to us.  Truly a blessed read - I highly recommend it!

387086: The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional
By Ann Voskamp / Tyndale House

Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot--yes, a new branch bearing fruit from the old root...In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to Him, and the land where He lives will be a glorious place. Isaiah 11:1, 10

Our Jesse tree book and ornaments we printed and made from it are below (free printable on her sight after purchase with a code from your book).  So we were ready to begin our adventure!  If you would like a younger version and more colorful for your kids then you can try the ideas/visuals from 1plus1plus1equals1.  They are very good :)


  1. What a great explanation of Jesse Tree and Advent, thanks for the good explanation.

  2. Do you know if her advent book is the same or different from the one she released as a free download a few years ago? Kyle @ Aspired Living

    1. I actually don't know because I didn't read that one! I would think this is a more expanded version but you never know! :)

  3. I am sadly behind on advent this year =( I fear it will be mostly skipped this year. We are reading at dinner time, but I haven't even gotten candles out! Oh well...I'm not going to beat myself up over it =)

    1. Amy - I slowly have built up to where I am in my pursuit of Advent. These Advent blogs are about giving ideas to families on how they can go deeper and live December more purposefully - putting off the commercialism of American Christmas and picking up the quiet gentle focus of Christ instead. Take notes of things you like and purpose next December to do them. Start planning in November or before so when December gets there you will have a plan. I am no good without a plan to execute - as you can see by my Teaching Plan! Without a plan I perish! :) So please, please don't beat yourself up over anything I post. My posts are never to make anyone feel badly about what they aren't doing but rather to inspire so the next time you get there, you have a vision and idea how to do it yourself. :) Be blessed! Colleen

    2. I promise that your posts are inspiring, not discouraging =) Live just gets busy and you are right, I didn't have a plan in place! I'm going to keep these ideas in mind for next year! I loved the post you linked to about your Jesus Tree, by the way!

  4. I'm a bit behind on our Jesse Tree and advent readings as well here, but just picking right up and making the most of the next 2 weeks with the kiddos-- to slow down, refocus and walk through at least our favorite O.T. stories for our Jesse tree...we already have the ornaments printed and ready from last year (Ann Voskamp's free printable) and they so loved hearing the Bible stories before bed last December. We are all so busy, but even opening up the Word to and reading through Luke or Matthew's account is powerful for them and for us. I want to savor the beauty of this season.
    Btw, loved your King Jesus tree! Blessings, Joanna