I wrote a blog post back in November about building our Jesse Tree for the advent season. You can find the original post here. This is the first year we have done a Jesse Tree and I have to say, we loved it! We have traditionally done advent readings in the 25 days leading up to Christmas but adding the Jesse Tree made it all the more meaningful! They would often forget about their chocolate advent calendar's in favour of doing the readings and adding the ornaments.
We used Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift for our advent readings. Her site had the printable ornaments we coloured and hung on the tree. I loved the suggestions she had at the end of each chapter. They encouraged thinking about others during this season, including acts of service and thinking about the men and women who were included in the lineage of Christ.
The kids are looking forward to doing this next year as well. I will work on quilting a Jesse Tree for our family and, eventually, quilting each one of the kids their own Jesse Tree to take with them when they leave. :)
There are a few pictures of the Jesse Tree below but I also want to talk about what we are doing from January till Easter. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted it to lead up to the death and resurrection of Christ. I came across the free Life of Christ Family Reading Plan (by Intoxicatedonlife), designed to take us right up to Easter with a bonus reading for the week of Easter. It follows the life of Christ in chronological order - a truly fantastic way to start our the new year to study Christ and follow in His footsteps! The readings started on January 1st and work out to be 5 readings in 7 days. This works perfectly for our daily morning Bible Readings and prayer time. I also added in a book I picked up a few years ago with the intention of working it into some aspect of our Bible Readings: The Jesus Encyclopedia. It fits in perfectly with these readings; filled with cultural nuances of the day and little tidbits of information ranging from church history to folk lore.
The other thing that I am excited to have added in, is a 4 year prayer journal. For Christmas I got an 'Any Year Diary' that begins with January. Two pages take up one week, so I decided to divide it into 4 separate years and record our items of prayer each day. When we come to the end of the year we'll simply go back to January and begin again, noting answers to prayer and what not. You can see the picture of the journal down below, in case you are interested to see how it is set up. I found some one year diaries on amazon that can also be used for this purpose.. They weren't set up exactly as mine but are quite similar. See here for an example.
It was good to have this taken care of for the next several weeks. I feel settled about how we're proceeding with our Bible Study this year!
|The Jesse Tree finished!|
|Our first ornament hung.|
|They absolutely loved painting the tree.|
|The Life of Christ Family Reading Plan and Prayer Journal|
|Inside the 4 year prayer journal.|