One of our favorite traditions in our house is our Jesse Tree, which we started the Christmas after Annie died. We filled one journal and we’ve started another. The kids love to look back to see what they wrote in years past.
My favorite journal entry is the day that Kate asked Jesus into her heart. Every year when we get to that day, tears come to my eyes. Our original intent of the Jesse Tree was to use Annie’s life to point others toward Christ. We began it as a way to fill her stocking during Christmas– an empty stocking is so horrible. So when Kate responded to one of our devotions by saying she wanted to pray, it was like God was whispering to our broken hearts, “See, I can bring good out of your sorrow. Watch it unfold before your eyes!”
Every year, I have friends tell me they’d like to start a Jesse Tree of their own. So here is some info to get you started:
Here’s the original post I wrote about it (with some links of the devotionals we use)
Here’s a post that I read this week and the way her family does the Jesse Tree. She has a lot of great details and explains it much better than I do.
My advice? Give yourself grace. Each year, we get busy and there are many nights that time slips away from us. Usually it’s Easter before we get done. And that’s ok. I want this to be a special time with our kids, not a hurry-up-we-have-to-finish-before-December-25. So we take our time and we refuse to feel guilty about having a Christmas tree up in February.
Also, for now, we read our stories out of the Jesus Storybook Bible or one of the kids’ Bibles so it makes it easy for them to understand. They are much more engaged that way. And while we read, we let them draw a picture in their journals. They each have their own journals, after two years of fighting over who got to draw first (!) and it works out great.
For us, this has been a great way to celebrate the coming of Jesus. It’s amazing to see the progression of the Bible and the expectation of a Savior . . . and to teach that to our kids.
I’d love to hear if you start a Jesse Tree of your own, if you have other resources you use, or if you have any other great traditions that your family does to celebrate the birth of Christ!