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The Jesse tree: A different kind of Christmas tree

12.02.19 | HPUMC Family | by Kevin Crain

The Jesse tree: A different kind of Christmas tree

    It’s a different kind of Christmas tree with a grand ambition: to take you through the Bible, from the creation narrative to the birth of Christ.

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    Thursday, December 5 | 5:30 – 8:00 pm | Sanctuary
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    I asked my mom what it was. After all, it was her friend who had given it to my wife and I as a wedding present. “It’s a Jesse tree,” my mom said. Well, that still didn’t fully answer my question. 

    After unpacking our Jesse tree, I found out that it came with lots of parts and pieces. A hand-stitched fabric tree. A book. A dowel rod. A packet of embroidered cloth ornaments.

    It’s a different kind of Christmas tree with a grand ambition: to take you through the Bible, from the creation narrative to the birth of Christ. 

    Actually, that’s why it’s called a Jesse tree. Isaiah 11:1 says, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” This refers to the lineage of Jesus, who was a descendant of King David and David’s father, Jesse.    

    Each day in December until Christmas, we read a short Bible passage and hang an ornament with an icon relating to that day’s Scripture. For instance, the first day starts with a few verses from Genesis 1 about God creating the world. Then we hang the ornament that looks like the earth. There’s also a question to think about or discuss and a short prayer. All told, it takes less than five minutes. 

    We started this Christmas tradition eight years ago. At first, we didn’t completely buy in. We skipped numerous days. We didn’t read the Scripture. We hung the ornaments up early just so it looked complete. 

    Now, the Jesse tree is something that my entire family looks forward to every December. My three-year old can’t wait to read the Bible verses and hang up the ornaments each night. 

    Seriously, she won’t let us forget to do it. 

    Ever. 

    Around Christmastime, we often talk about remembering the reason for the season. The Jesse tree is a great way to do exactly that! In fact, it reminds me of the incredible plan that God has had for us since, well, the beginning of time. 

    Whether you’ve heard of a Jesse tree before or not, I encourage you to make or buy your own. There are lots of DIY instructions online, so you can easily create one with your kids or loved ones. 

    Trust me, it will quickly become one of your favorite traditions. And when your holiday guests ask, “What is that?” you can tell them all about this different kind of Christmas tree and the amazing journey it takes you on.  


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