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Our Jesse Tree

Activity Objective:
To identify the Advent season as a time of hope and joyful anticipation
Lesson Outcome:
The children will be able to demonstrate a way in which we anticipate the celebration of Jesus' birth during the season of Advent.
Materials
  • Jesse tree (a real tree or a drawn/cutout tree on poster board)
  • Colored paper
  • Markers, crayons, pens, and pencils
  • Strips of ribbon
  • Hole puncher
  • Glue
Directions:
  • Ask the children to share what they know about the significance of the Jesse tree during the season of Advent. Explain that Jesse was the father of King David. The Jesse tree is named from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot shall come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." The ornaments of the Jesse tree tell the story of God in the Old Testament, connecting the Advent season with the faithfulness of God across four thousand years of history.
  • Tell the children: The Jesse tree helps us to connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events leading to Jesus' birth. We adorn a Jesse tree with illustrated ornaments that represent people, prophesies, and the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.
  • Provide the children with coloring materials and colored paper to create their ornaments for the group's Jesse tree. Provide them with a list of symbols such as the following:

Apple—Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:1-15
Ark—Noah, Genesis 6
Lamb—Isaac, Genesis 22:1-19
Knife—Abraham, Genesis 22:1-19
Ladder—Jacob, Genesis 28:1-22
Coat—Joseph, Genesis 37:1-4
Burning Bush—Moses, Exodus 3
Harp—David, I Samuel 16:14-23
Crown—Solomon, I Kings 1:22-48
Whale—Jonah, Jonah 1-2
Dove—Elisha, II Kings 5:1-27 (spirit of healing)
Rose—Isaiah, Isaiah 35:1-2
Heart—Ruth, Ruth 1:15-18
Wheel—Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:15-21
Lion—Daniel, Daniel 6:1-24
Lily—Mary, Luke 1:26-28
Hammer—Joseph
Camel and Star—Wisemen, Matthew 2:1-12
Chi Rho (an X with a P through the middle of it)—Jesus

  • When the children are finished, invite them to hang (or glue) their ornaments on the tree.
  • Close the activity by reading aloud the passage from Isaiah 11:1.
Learning Styles:
Art/Space Smart,Self Smart
Approximate Time:
20  minutes
Hints:
If you're unable to find a bare tree for the children to decorate, draw a large tree on poster paper and have the children glue their ornaments on its branches.