Advent is here – my favorite time of year! In Latin, advent means “coming.” For Christians, it is the 4 week season preceding Christmas where we celebrate and prepare for Jesus’ birthday. I have always loved Christmas – the decorating, the cookies, buying as well as receiving gifts, and the food! However, if we do all of this without remembering the reason we celebrate so BIG, it is all meaningless busyness. Over the years, I have learned to intentionally focus on Jesus as the underlying reason for all we do at Christmas. Otherwise, it is so easy to caught up in the stuff. One way we do this is through a Christian advent devotionals book called The Advent Jesse Tree.
We want our chidren to be excited about trimming the tree, hanging up lights, and opening gifts, but most importantly, we want them to know WHY we do all of these things. We want our children to know Jesus and the story of his birth. And we want them to know why it is the most epic birth in the history of the world. What we celebrate at Christmas is the foundation to everything else we believe!
The Advent Jesse Tree Book…
Links Old & New Testaments
This book aims to show the links between the Old and New testaments in regards to the coming King. It walks you through Jesus’ genealogy starting with creation and of course ending with his birth. Matthew 1:21 says,
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.”
The Old Testament is the detailed account of God choosing a people to bring forth that Savior of the world! The Christmas story doesn’t start in the manger. John 1:1 says,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The Word = Jesus. Thus, the Old testament is the opening act to Jesus’ birth, setting the stage for our salvation that would come through a virgin birth and death on a cross. This is what The Advent Jesse Tree book teaches in the daily devotions – the bigger picture.
Is Well Structured
This book consists of 25 devotionals, each accompanied by a symbol to serve as a reminder of each teaching. There are scriptures, devotions, questions, prayers, a memory verse, and songs for each day. You start the book on December 1st and end on Christmas day. The daily devotional re-align your focus each day to the “reason for the season.” And with the commercialism that surrounds the celebration of Christ’s birth, a daily focus activity is a must!
This book is created to allow all ages to participate in the activity. The daily symbol, memory verse, and associated hyms are the same for everyone. However, the scriptures, devotion, questions, and prayer components come in a kid-friendly version followed by the adult version. This makes The Advent Jesse Tree book useful for everyone. Each person or family can choose the most age-appropriate material as well as decide what other components they want to include in their daily advent activity.
This book can be used on its own just as a typical devotional study. Or, you can add in fun and meaningful activities to help solidify the message in yours and your children’s hearts and minds.
For example, if someone in your family is musically inclined, it would be fun for that person to play their instrument to accompany the singing portion of the daily reading. I wish we had a musician in our family – it would make for some beautiful memories I’m sure.
Not musical, that’s ok. The most popular activity to accompany the book, especially if children are involved, would be to actually decorate a tree. Buy a 2-3 foot tree specifically for your advent ornaments. Or, DIY a tree by tying bare branches together and stick into a pot. Buy or make an ornament out of each of the 25 symbols and hang the associated ornament on the tree before or after each family devotion. This serves as a visible reminder of the things you have learned over the 25 days, which also provides a frequent reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.
You could wrap each individual ornament and label them with the numbered day. Kiddos can take turns unwrapping the ornament for the day and hanging it on the tree. Super fun with little ones – I think I will try this next year! You could also display the ornaments in an advent calendar type thing like the one pictured above. This is what I did this year, but I think I will save this for when the kids are much older. Easy toddler access to breakable ornaments means this usually sits up high until we are ready to do our devotion. 😳 Or, just keep them in a shoebox – that’s what I did last year and it worked well.
Group Effort Ornament Exchange is the Way to Go
Buying 25 ornaments that are so specific sounds pricey, but making 25 ornaments on your own sounds overwhelming. So, I recommend making it a group effort! Find a few other families that want to create a Jesse tree. Split up the 25 ornaments among the families. Each family can then buy, make, or do a combination of both to come up with one of each assigned ornament for each family. Make sense?
If there are 5 families participating and you are assigned the globe, lamb, ladder, star, and angel, you would make 5 globes, 5 lambs, and so on and so forth. I did this with my in-laws, and it worked beautifully. We made it our gift to each other that Christmas instead of exchanging gifts to validate the money spent. This also makes DIY easier and more affordable! Here are a few of my favorites from our Jesse Tree ornaments:
As this Christian advent devotionals book has become increasingly popular, kits have become available. If you are on your own with the ornaments, this might be a good option. Turn it into a gift if you need to stay in an already tight budget! Click here to find a kit that works for your family and your budget.
The Advent Jesse Tree Book is My Favorite Christian Advent Devotionals Book
I love this book for so many reasons. It has worked great for our family with little ones, and I know it will continue to deepen their understanding of Jesus’ birth as they age. I love the linking of the Old and New Testaments as well as the frequent visual reminder the tree/ornaments serve through the season. And, the best part, my kiddos LOVE it. My oldest often requests to “do another one.”
I hope that you will make an advent devotional activity part of your Christmas tradition. It doesn’t have to be this book. If this doesn’t sound like it fits your family, find another! I wanted to give you my review and tell you what has worked for my family to encourage you to find what works for yours! I know there are so many options and even just looking can get overwhelming. So I hope this review helped you either choose this book for your family, or cross it off your list. 😊
Do you already have a family advent activity? Do you use another Christian advent devotionals book that you love? What other things do you do to bring it back to Jesus this time of year? I’d love to hear in the comments below!