Sunday, 23 November 2014

Advent. Christmas. Jesse tree...

Today is Stir Up Sunday.  So next Sunday is the beginning of Advent.

I've been asked to present a Christmas craft/tradition at our church Christmas craft fair. I'll be showing folk the little layered gingerbread Christmas trees I make, but also salt dough ornaments. (recipe: a quarter of a cup of salt, one cup of flour and enough hot water - maybe up to one third of a cup - to make a firm dough, cooked for up to three minutes in the microwave on medium heat, carefully) My daughter and I made these a dozen years ago, representing Jesus's story. Ornaments for a Jesse tree. There is a saying: “The Old Testament conceals what the New Testament reveals.”  The Jesse tree does this beautifully.

This site has a good summary of the Bible verse, a suggested symbol and a child friendly explanation; there are also suggestions for making the tree and ornaments. Ann Voskamp has a Christmas devotional book, with a free set of the ornaments. There is a detailed explanation here.

I came across a beautiful post about making the ornaments with a group of friends and then exchanging them. Ideally with a group of 25 women (24 days in Advent, plus Christmas), each one makes 24 ornaments and 1 for themselves, then all exchange so that each one has a set of 25 different ornaments. I started off a Jesse tree using the children's toy animals and other bits and pieces I had to hand, but this is a lovely idea. I've also, in the past, done it using old Christmas cards, cut up and hung with ribbon, putting the relevant Bible verse on the back of each; we've even made our own Advent calendars in this way.

There is also a simple way of doing it with printed images or even building up a Nativity scene with the relevant Bible verses.

FlameCreativeKids have the best ideas for Advent activities.

Here are the verses, (from a Catholic website) with some suggestions:
JESSE TREE SCRIPTURES (The symbols are only suggestions)
December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman
December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite
December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain
December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder
December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes
December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple
December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd's staff
December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star
December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle
December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart
December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river
On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons.
December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols:oil lamp, open book
December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets
December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower
December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains
December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18)Symbols: sun rising or high in sky
December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter
December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host
December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun
Activity SourceJesse Tree Kit, A by Betsy Walter, Pauline Books and Media, Boston, MA, 1983
Day 1: Earth
Day 2: Apple & Snake
Day 3: Ark & Rainbow
Day 4: Camel & Tent
Day 5: Lamb
Day 6: Ladder
Day 7: Colourful Coat
Day 8: 10 Commandments
Day 9: Grapes
Day 10: Wheat
Day 11: Slingshot
Day 12: Scroll/Bible
Day 13: Stump w/ Leaf
Day 14: Lion & Lamb
Day 15: Dove Crown
Day 16: Lamb & Shepherd. Staff
Day 17: Cross Day 
Day 18: Heart 
Day 19: Bethlehem Silhouette
Day 20: Fiery Furnace
Day 21: Brick Wall
Day 22: Star
Day 23: Candle
Day 24: Angel
Day 25: Baby in Manger/Nativity

And the most straightforward by far, thanks to Confessions of a Homeschooler

December 1 Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 Creation - Sun The Jesse Tree
December 2 Genesis 2:7-24;3:1-24 The Garden, The Fall Paradise Garden
December 3 Genesis 6:5-22 The Arc A Boat Full of Animals
December 4 Genesis 12:1-3 Abraham Strange Visitors
December 5 Genesis 22:1-14 Isaac A Test of Love
December 6 Genesis 25:1-34 Jacob Stairway to Heaven
December 7 Genesis 37:23-28 Joseph The Dreamer
December 8 Genesis 41 & 45 Pharaoh Famine & Plenty
December 9 Exodus 2:1-10;14:1-31 Moses Let My People Go!
December 10 Ruth 4:1-17 Ruth The Foreigner
December 11 1 Samuel 3:1-18 Samuel “Speak, Lord, For Your Servant is Listening”
December 12 1 Samuel 16:1-13 David The Shepherd King
December 13 1 Samuel 17:12-51 Jesse Dancing
December 14 1 Kings 3:5-28 Solomon The Wisdom of Solomon
December 15 1 Kings 18:19-39 Elijah The Idol & The Still Small Voice
December 16 Daniel 6:2-29 Daniel
December 17 Isaiah 9:1-7, 11:1-5 Isaiah War and Peace
December 18 Luke 1:5-25 Zechariah Dumbstruck!
December 19 Luke 1:26-55,   Matthew 1:18-25 Mary & Joseph Mary
December 20 Mark 1:1-8 John the Baptist Jumping for Joy
December 21 Luke 2:1-5 Journey to Bethlehem The Worst of all Possible Times
December 22 Luke 2:1-15 Birth of Jesus Wonderful News
December 23 Matthew 2:1-12 Magi Visit the Messiah The Cunning and the Wise, Angels
December 24 John 1:1-18 The Brightest Star The Brightest Star

And these were just adorable:
25 handmade Christmas ornaments1.  a globe or picture of the Earth
2.  an apple and a snake wrapped around it
3.  an ark with a rainbow
4.  a camel and a tent
5.  a lamb
6.  a ladder
7.  a colorful coat
8.  a tablet with ten numbers
9.  a cluster of grapes
10. a sheaf of wheat
11. a slingshot
12. a scroll or Bible
13. a stump with fresh shoot or green leaf
14. a lion and a lamb
15. a dove and a crown
16. a lamb and a shepherd’s staff
17. a cross
18. a heart with writing on it
19. a Bethlehem town silhouette with star
20. a fiery furnace
21. a brick wall
22. a star
23. a candle or light
24. an angel
25. a baby in a manger or a nativity scene

And another nice Advent calendar idea, writing verses and activities into red and green envelopes or pockets and creating a tree shape.

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