|Hand-made and well-loved|
So, my introduction to the Jesse Tree idea was a late one. And you would think that being given one would mean there was nothing to freak out about. Hah! You don't know me very well. The depths I can plumb for reasons for freaking out are vast and wide, my friend! Are we doing this the right way? Do we light the Advent Wreath before or during? Is there a prayer to say before reading the verse? Should the Jesse Tree reading take the place of night-time prayers or should it be in addition to? Etc...
Let me just put your minds at ease... there is no "right way" to do a Jesse Tree. Being a private devotion, it is what you need it to be. Also... and it took me several years to figure this out... there is no one particular set of Jesse Tree readings. There are so many to choose from. Some of them will have the same images, some will be different. This year, while I tend to making some repairs to our original gifted Jesse Tree, we will be using Ann's chosen Bible verses and the lovely images contained within (although it doesn't appear to be available anymore). My girls have also requested that one of these years we include more women of the Old Testament in our Jesse Tree readings. And you know what...you can do that! Isn't it great?
Also, with little ones, don't worry about trying to do all of the readings from the Bible. Some of them were rather lengthy (at least they seemed like it to our little ones). When mine were littler, we used to read the stories out of a Bible storybook we had or sometimes, Husband would just tell them the story of the person who's figure was being placed that night.
For anyone just starting out with a Jesse Tree, do yourself a favor and use a prepared one. You can make changes once you get going. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Updated to add:
Vee over at Paper Dali has free printable Jesse Tree ornaments you can color yourself
From Aquinas and More:
Jesse Tree Kit
Jesse Tree Ornament Kit
Jesse Tree Advent Activity Kit
Books from Amazon:
Let's Make A Jesse Tree ~This is the book ours was made from. This is not a kit. These are just instructions.
Jesse Tree Devotions: A Family Activity for Advent ~includes a poster and pictures to cut out and stick on
The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean ~No ornaments with this book! We have read it and didn't much care for the way the old man treated the young boy at times but you might like it.
The Jesse Tree: A Family Craft for the Story of Advent ~Not a kit, just a resource for making your own.