As Christians in America, it can be a strain to battle the Christmas decorations that pop up everywhere before Christmas ever arrives. Maintaining a spirit of anticipation and longing is completely missed in the local retail stores, downtown Christmas parades, and – face it – many Christian homes. One would think that Christmas comes before December 25th and just ends that day, too.
As Christians who carry on the Traditions of our forefathers, however, we are all too sensitive to the 12 days of Christmas that have their pinnacle on Epiphany, when the kingship of our Lord is revealed to the three wise men. With joy we look forward to our beloved Christmas Season. It is arguably the most joyful season of the Church, since it is the Lord’s promise fulfilled, the promise of a redeemer. He is finally here on Earth!
But, how do we give Advent its proper place and keep the department store hub-bub out of our homes? In an earlier post, Preparing your home spiritually and practically for Advent, we offered suggestions for refecting the Advent season in your home, so here are just a few crafts and coloring pages to go along with that article.
- Jesse Tree Ornaments
- Jesse Tree Readings
- Jesse Tree Advent Calendar
- Advent Coloring Pages
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse and a flower shall rise up out of his root.”
If you haven’t discovered the “Jesse Tree” yet, then this is certainly worth a look. Instead of putting up a Christmas tree during Advent, erect a few branches for a Jesse Tree. The barren limbs remind us of the world without the Redeemer. This creates a beautiful contrast for when you finally put up your Christmas Tree at Christmas. The evergreen reminds us of the new life and life with Christ now that God’s promise has been fulfilled. The difference in the two trees also highlights the difference between the world without Christ and the world with Him.
First, download & print: Jesse Tree Ornaments to Color.
Second, create the ornaments for your tree:
- Color the pictures.
- Cut the pictures out.
- Glue the pictures to construction paper with a glue stick.
- Cut out the ornaments.
- Punch a hole in the ornaments.
- Tie thread through the hole.
- Finally, place the ornaments in safe-keeping to be taken out one-by-one each night during Advent.
Jesse Tree Readings
Here are the readings we use for our Jesse Tree. I prefer this set of readings for its focus on the Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s coming and birth as well as on man’s need for a savior. They make for a good reflection as process toward Christmas. Some of the readings are a bit long for toddlers, so I let them roam around the living room during the readings if necessary to maintain a respectful silence. For our evening readings, we use the Ignatius Press The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Edition.
Note that the numbers correspond with numbers on our Free Jesse Tree Ornaments Template.
If I recall correctly, the above suggested readings can also be found similarly presented in The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day
- Gen. 1:24-28
- Gen. 3:1-24
- Gen. 6:11-22; 8:6-12; 9:11-17
- Gen. 12:1-7; 13:2-18; 18:1
- Gen. 18:1-15; 21:1-7
- Gen. 22: 1-14
- Gen. 27:41- 28:22
- Gen. 37:1-36
- Exodus 3:1-10
- Exodus 15: 19-21
- 1 Samuel 3: 1-21
- Isaiah 11:1
- 1 Samuel 16:14-23
- 1 Kings 3:3-28
- Isaiah 6:1-8
- Jeremiah 31:31-34
- Hebrews 1:1-14
- Malachi 3:1-4
- Luke 1:39-45
- 20. Luke 1:26-35
- Matthew 3:1-6
- Matthew 1:18-25
- Matthew 2:1-12
- Luke 2:1-7
During Advent, all that you will find in the way of decorations in our house is: an advent wreath, a Jesse tree, and a modified advent calendar. The modified advent calendar? It began by wanting an Advent Calendar that did not have chocolate for each day during a penitential season. The rest is inspiration and happenstance.
Years ago after child #1, I bought a Starbucks advent calendar for $2 from a yard sale with the thought of turning it into a Jesse tree advent calendar. This, of course, did not happen over night. After child #2, I finally started painting, but I made the mistake of starting during Advent. After child #3, I finished the painting and wrote the Bible verses. Finally, after child #4 we have been enjoying the family tradition of making the above miniature Jesse tree ornaments to go inside each box.
What is it? There are 24 boxes, once for each day of Advent beginning with December 1st and ending on December 24th, Christmas Eve. Painted on the front of the box is a symbol taken from the Scripture passage of the day. Inside each box we place one Jesse Tree Ornament, and at the bottom of the box is written the Scripture passage to go along with the ornament.
This has certainly been a long project, but the entire family has been involved as we have grown one child at a time, and just the making of this tradition has been memorable!
Advent Coloring Pages
December 6th ~ Feast of St. Nicholas
December 8th ~ Immaculate Conception
- Our Lady of Lourdes Coloring Page (English. Latin. French. German)
- St. John Baptizing with Water Coloring Page