A few years ago I was asked if I wanted to be a part of a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange Party. I had no idea what that meant, but I am always up for a party with friends and love new ideas that I can use and share in making the Christmas story come to life for my kiddos – so I was in!
A little pre-story before the party-fun…The JESSE TREE is named from a passage from the Bible in Isaiah 11:1. If you want to go in depth about why it is named that specifically and more about resources available out there, you can Google/Pinterest and find all kinds of ideas on the topic. We keep it pretty simple for our family, so I am going to tell you the basics and how it works and what we do. Basically, you have 25 different ornaments that represent stories from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible starting at creation and leading up to the birth of Jesus. Each day you get to do a little devotion or tell your kids one of the stories in the advent (order is below) and then they hang the advent ornament on the tree. It is a great way to bring a little CHRIST back into the Christmas of today and a fun way for your family to remember and learn together!
The EXCHANGE PARTY was a blast! There were 25 ladies asked to participate. Each person was assigned ONE of the advent days and had to make 25 of the same ornament (one which we would keep ourselves) to bring to the party. We could make the ornaments look any way we wanted to. I was the last person to sign up (whoops) and got tasked with Day 20: The Fiery Furnace (yikes). I had no idea what to do but ended up buying little $.29 wood ornaments from Michaels, painting them black, glueing on scrunched little pieces of tissue paper in red and orange for the flames, and then putting sparkle mod podge over each one to seal them. We tied a ribbon through the top and off I went to the party! When we got to the party, they organized all of the ornaments and we went around collecting one of each advent ornaments (buffet style) in our cute baskets the hostess made us. While we waited to collect the goods, we munched on appetizers and desserts, mingled, chatted, talked Christmas traditions, etc. When everyone was done collecting, we had a chance to explain to the group why we made the ornament the way we did. It was a really fun night and the ornaments and devotions have been a fun Christmas tradition for our family these past few years!
P.S. If it is too late to have an exchange party this year, you can also make these little ornaments as a family project and follow along in the advent stories. Just use your imagination and have fun together! Merry Christmas!
Day 1 – Story of Creation (Globe) Genesis 1:1 & John 1:1-4
Day 2 – Story of Sin (Apple and a Snake) Genesis 3:1-10, 23; Isaiah 53:6; 1 John 1:8-10; Isaiah 59:2
Day 3 – Story of the Ark (Ark with a Rainbow) Genesis 5-9:7; Romans 6:23; Joshua 23:14
Day 4 – Story of the Call to Abraham (Camel and a Tent) Genesis 12:1-7; Hebrews 11:8; Matthew 1:1
Day 5 – Story of Isaac and the Lamb (A Lamb) Genesis 22:1-13; Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19
Day 6 – Story of Jacob’s Ladder (A Ladder) Genesis 27:41-28:22
Day 7 – Story of Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors (A Colorful Coat) Genesis 37-50, especially 50:18-21; Romans 8:28
Day 8 – Story of Moses and the Ten Commandments (A Tablet with Numbers) Exodus 1-15; 20; 32:15-18; Psalm 119:11; Galatians 3:19
Day 9 – Story of Canaan, the Promised Land of Blessings (A Cluster of Grapes) Numbers 13-14:38; 24:17; Psalm 103:2
Day 10 – Story of Ruth and Boaz (A Sheaf of Wheat) Ruth 1-4; Matthew 1:5
Day 11 – Story of King David (A Slingshot) 1 Samuel 16-17
Day 12 – Story of Josiah Finding the Law (A Scroll or Bible) 2 Kings 22-23:25; Psalm 119:105
Day 13 – Prophecy of a Shoot from the Stump of Jesse (A Stump with greenery or fresh buds) Isaiah 11:1-5, 10; John 1:14a; 1 Samuel 16:1-3; Revelation 5:5
Day 14 – Prophecy of the Lion and the Lamb Resting Together (A Lion and a Lamb) Isaiah 11:6-10; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 21:1-7; Philippians 2:9-11 ***This was a two-sided ornament – one side shows the lion, the other the lamb.
Day 15 – Prophecy of the Prince of Peace (A Dove and a Crown) Isaiah 2:2-4; 9:2-7; John 14:27
Day 16 – Prophecy of a Gentle Shepherd (A Lamb and a Staff) Isaiah 40:9-11; Psalm 23; John 10:27; John 10:11-16
Day 17 – Prophecy of a Suffering Servant (A Cross) Isaiah 53; Luke 2:8-18; John 19:11-18; John 10:15; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22; Romans 5:9-10
Day 18 – Prophesy of the New Covenant (A Heart with a Scroll) Jeremiah 31:31-24; Acts 16:31; Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Hebrews 8-10
Day 19 – Prophesy of Bethlehem (A Bethlehem Town) Micah 5:2-4; Luke 2:1-7
Day 20 – Story of the Exile (A Fiery Furnace) 2 Kings 17:1-23; 25:1-17; Daniel 3; Jeremiah 1:8
Day 21 – Story of the Return to the Land (A Brick Wall) Ezra 1; Nehemiah 6:15-16; Malachi 3:1; Revelation 22:20
Day 22 – Story of the Star (A Star) Matthew 2:1-12; Numbers 24:17; Revelation 22:16; 2 Peter 1:19
Day 23 – Story of the Light of the World (A Candle or Light) Luke 1:26-56; 2:21-33; John 1:4-9; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Isaiah 42:6; John 8:12; Revelation 21:23-24; Isaiah 60:1-3
Day 24 – Story of Angels Proclaiming the Coming of Christ (An Angel) Luke 2:8-14; Hebrews 1:1-4; Psalm 91:11
Day 25 – Story of the Birth of Jesus (A Baby in a Manager) Matthew 2:1-7; Luke 2:1-21