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How to Celebrate Advent with a Jesse Tree

How to Make a Jesse Tree for Advent this year - This FREE printable devotional ebook includes tips and ideas for crafts and felt ornaments and even printable ornaments! You can DIY your own tree or buy a tree. Includes scriptures and verses, songs, Bible readings, everything you need to learn about Jesus this year. Written for kids but perfect for the whole family!

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In 2009, I read about the Jesse tree, a kind of Advent calendar that traces the lineage of Jesus the whole way through the Old Testament, back to God Himself.

Even though we hadn't spent much time in church, I wanted to focus our family's Christmas holiday on Jesus. I wanted time to reflect on Him and pray, and I wanted to share Him with Grace.

I made gorgeous felt ornaments for our tree. I collected readings and prayers from books, websites, and friends. I put together a spiral bound flip book of devotionals that first year.

The flip book didn't work the second year because I had used the dates, and the dates change each year.

UGH!

I had to start over completely. The second year, I put the devotionals on a stack of index cards held together by a binder ring. That worked, but there wasn't enough room on the cards for the extra information I needed, like the words for some of the songs and the text of the important Bible verses.

Another snag.

I got it right in 2014. I made each of the cards into a full page, and I put them all together in a binder. Each page looks more or less like this:

how to use a jesse tree

 

Best of all, at the request of my Bible study friends, I made the devotions into an eBook, a file that I could share with other families to help them create their own Jesse trees. The ebook includes all 28 possible days of Advent, plus full-color printable ornaments you can cut out and paste or hang on a paper tree.

In the spirit of the holiday, it's completely free.

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Celebrate advent. Grow closer to Jesus.

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64 thoughts on “How to Celebrate Advent with a Jesse Tree”

  1. THANK YOU!! I stumbled upon the Jesse Tree idea a few days ago and was considering buying the devotional book on Amazon. It is only $10, but every little bit adds up after a while, especially at this time of year. So I was VERY excited to see this free download!! Thank you soooo much again!!

  2. LOVELY!! I’m over the moon for your excellent e-book. I didn’t know about Jesse Trees until recently and was debating just waiting until next year. Your e-book helped me to get ready to go right away. I too, have small children and this is the best fit! Thank you so much. As an aside: I wanted to share a formating blip I see on my end. Starting with Day 24, the day’s text and picture begins on the page before. Day 23 is on page 40 and so is the first part of Day 24. I’m running windows and looked at the file in both Adobe Reader and Foxit. If you happen to see it on your end too and make an update, please let me know via email as I’d love those last 4 days each on their own page. Thank you for blessing my family with your efforts.

  3. Tara, this is wonderful. I’ve just read through it all, being a little behind on finding readings for our advent devotionals, and I’m really impressed. My boys love Bible stories about *people* – this sounds just right.

    Thank you so much for compiling and sharing this book with us! Have you thought about posting it on the Kindle store (free is ok) or elsewhere for a broader distribution and ministry?

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  6. Thank you so, so much for putting this together! I had planned on going through Ann Voskamp’s devotional this year, but it is a bit advanced for my preschooler 🙂 so we’re filing that away and using yours!

    Thank you again so much!!

  7. This is amazing!! heard about the Jesse Tree several years ago, before kids, and wanted to do it. But, i haven’t been able to find anything that was geared toward my small children. We’ll definatly be using this resource this christmas!!

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  9. I’ve been looking for something like this to do with my children and I found you, thank you so much for all you’ve done! I wish many more blessings from God pour on you as you have blessed so many others with your work.

  10. Thank You for sharing this! It looks great! I too have been building our advent calendar over several years and have run into different snags. But now I just like to mix it up a little, follow different verses from year to year. Thank you again- this will help us “mix it up”!

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  12. How did you use the ornament patterns? Did you trace them onto the felt or something? I’m not very artistic so I know I can’t freehand that haha.

    • I should make this into a whole blog post.

      I have almost no drawing skills, so here’s what I did.

      I printed out the line drawings from the Reformed Church of America. (That link is in the ebook.) I cut those line drawings into pieces, and I traced the pieces onto the felt, with a dark marker on the light-colored felts and a white chalk pencil on the dark-colored felts. That allowed me to cut the pieces of felt and put them back together like a puzzle. I cut a large circle of felt for the background and a matching circle for the back of the ornament. I used felt glue (a very good buy since it doesn’t soak into the felt like normal glue would) to glue the puzzle-pieced picture onto the background and did any embroidery that I thought was appropriate (either before I glued or while the glue was still wet; you can’t embroider through dried glue). I let that dry completely, then I put a thin line of glue around the edge of the back piece of the ornament, pressed the front onto it, and stitched around the edge while the glue was still wet.

      My ornaments have lasted through four Christmases so far, and they still look as awesome as when I made them.

  13. Thank you so much! Truly a blessing! I am not crafty at all, wishing there was somewhere to purchase the ornaments…. (hehehehe, just saying…..) I will think of a way…. Again thank you so much for the ebook! God Bless!

    • Thank you! Many people have told me that I should make and sell the ornaments, but I am not up for that. They really are a ton of work. I have seen people on Etsy selling them, though. Check there or just print out my pictures or the ones from the Reformed Church of America.

  14. I was glad to see this here. Our family has been doing the Jesse Tree since my children were small (youngest is now 30) and my husband and I still do it during our prayer time in Advent. For years we used a live Norfolk Pine until it bit the dust (literally) then I sewed a simple hanging quilt with a green felt tree on it. We are still using our original ornaments, paper ones colored and cut out by the children and glued to variously shaped colored poster board.
    Some of our symbols are different, but the story is there. Thank you for spreading the story.

  15. Thank you so much!! I love that you included songs for each day 🙂 That is so helpful 🙂 God Bless You for your wonderful gifts.

  16. Thanks so much for putting all of this together & giving it away for free! It takes SO much work, especially with little ones. God bless you so much! This is what we needed to do the Jesse Tree this year. THANK YOU!

  17. I can’t find where to download your ebook for the Jesse Tree. Can you help me find it? Thank you so much! This is just so holy and beautiful! God bless you!

    • Normally, you would put your email address in the form at the bottom of the page and receive a download link by email, but when I saw your comment, I checked it out and my store is not working. I’ll let you know when it’s back up and running.

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