Thursday, November 12, 2015

Our Jesse Tree Exchange Party: Gospel Project Edition

A few years ago I began to read about The Jesse Tree Advent. Some of my friends were doing it with their kids, and it seemed like such a great idea that I just had to try it!

So...what is a Jesse Tree? The idea for a Jesse Tree is based on Isaiah 11:1, "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." Simply put, it is a way to lead children through stories in the Bible that show the redemptive plan God had for his people from the very beginning of creation (Hint: It's Jesus). 

There are so many different versions of the Jesse Tree out there, but each one takes stories from the Bible, whether they are directly related to the lineage of Jesus, to prophecies surrounding His coming, or to major events in the Old Testament. Each event has an ornament that corresponds to it, and that's where the tree comes in. Each day, you read/tell the story and hang the corresponding ornament on the tree.

I have wanted to put together a Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange for awhile, and I decided this was the year. I had such a great response from my friends that we actually ended up with more than enough participants. The next step was to come up with a Jesse Tree plan, and while there are plenty already out there, I really felt led to create one to tie into Lifeway's Gospel Project curriculum that we use at our church. 

Why? Well I think the more we can reinforce what our children are learning in their classes, the better. These stories will already be familiar to our kids, and that's a great thing. Repetition is key to burying truth in their little hearts! I also liked that the entire reason the Gospel Project exists is to connect Christ throughout God's story. (I mean it says it right there on the front of the curriculum).

Anyhow...I chose 26 stories from The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook and assigned each one an ornament and then assigned each ornament to a friend. Then, we got together, had snacks and fellowshipped, and exchanged our ornaments.

Tomorrow I will post all the pictures and more information about our exchange party, so come on back.  
If you are interested in using the Gospel Project for your Jesse Tree, here's a link to the PDF calendar I created.

Don't have time to create 26 ornaments this year? Try places like Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby to purchase ornaments, look at the awesome sets ladies have created on etsy, use clip art from your computer, or even have your children create the ornament each night. It can be as simple as a index card, some crayons, and a piece of yarn!

 One last tip that may work for you... The Gospel Project creates trading cards to pass out to kids at the end of each lesson. If you happen to use the curriculum at your church, you may have them. (You can buy them on the Lifeway website and in some stores as well, but you have to buy multiple packs to get the cards you need). Since each story on the Jesse Tree calendar above has a corresponding card, you can just punch holes in each trading card and use them as your ornaments. The cards also have a quick version of the story on the back, so you could use these for your devotion. Bonus!

For the Jesse Tree Ornament Exchange Party Details here.

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