Faith is caught, not taught!
The Jesse Tree Project
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. — Isaiah 11:1
A Jesse Tree is a tree with special meaning that is made for use during Advent, with a different ornament being added to the branches each day of the four weeks leading to the celebration of Jesus’ birth on Christmas day. It derives its name from Isaiah 11:1. The tree itself represents the Branch that grew from the stump of Jesse – Jesus Christ. Each individual ornament represents a milestone along the way – a significant event – in preparation for the coming of Christ. Because Advent means “coming”, we could call it a “Coming of Jesus Tree.”
So why are we talking about Advent now – in January – when Christmas has just passed? During Advent, as we await the coming of Christmas, we observe many traditions in remembrance of the birth of the Christ Child – the first coming of Jesus. Yet we often forget that He has promised to come again. It is the second coming of Christ that often is relegated to the shadows during our time of preparation. But indeed, as Christians, every day of our lives is spent in hope of His second coming and in preparing our hearts to receive Him.
Children in Grades 1-6 will embark upon an exciting journey during Sunday School to learn how their own lives are a part of that great faith story that still continues today. Each child will be presented with a specially made wooden tree. In the coming weeks, the children will have an opportunity each Sunday morning to make a new ornament for the tree. As they make the ornaments, they will learn Old Testament stories telling of God’s plan for our world. They will learn about people and events that show God’s promises and faith moments. The people in these Old Testament stories were chosen by God to be part of His family. You, I, the children, people today, and people who lived long before us are part of God’s family. These stories help to tell us God’s plan and to show us how our own lives are part of the Story, and to learn that God is always faithful. The last few stories, to be sure, will be New Testament stories culminating in the birth of Christ – God’s promise to the world.
The children will make a total of 25 ornaments. Each ornament will feature a symbol that stands for a specific story that they have learned. Each story will focus on a
significant individual or event leading to the coming of Christ. In learning the stories, the children will be able to watch the story unfold and see how each individual or event is woven together to form the fabric of our faith.
The project will continue through December of 2014. When finished, the children will be able to take their beautiful Jesse Trees and the 25 ornaments home with them so that they can share the Bible stories with their families. It is our hope that this is something the children will keep and treasure for many years to come – and someday pass on faith by sharing the stories with their own children!
Jesse Tree Ornaments – check back each week as we add new ornaments and watch the collection grow!