How Do You Celebrate Advent as a Family?

Article by Morgan Lang, Children’s Ministry Director

A couple of years ago, I began looking into different resources to help my family stay mindful of the true reason for Christmas as well as encourage and create fun family traditions. I ran across something called a Jesse Tree, which stems (pun intended) from the prophecies about Jesus in Isaiah 11:1-4.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

During Advent, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the branch that comes “from the stump of Jesse.” Have you ever struggled to explain to your child why we use a tree to celebrate Christmas? I’m not sure if the tradition of Christmas trees originated from the Jesse Tree tradition, but I do think it provides a great faith-based explanation in case your kiddos are curious.

How does a Jesse Tree work?
Each day in December, we read a specific Bible story and hang an ornament that correlates to the story on our tree. The stories take us on a journey that begins with Creation, and ends with Jesus’ birth. Our family uses a pre-made set of ornaments, but you could easily create your own. Rather than listing all 25 stories here, I’ve added some helpful resources below.

Jesse Tree Resources
We use these Jesse Tree Ornaments to celebrate Advent. If you prefer to make your own ornaments, this resource will give you the original Jesse Tree scriptures with ornament ideas, and this resource will download a PDF that adapts the traditional Jesse Tree stories into stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible (if you don’t have one, ask Morgan during any of the weekend services).