Several of you have asked me to post pictures of my Jesse Tree (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can read an explanation here and here). This post will contain several pictures--I've made them thumbnails so the page will load faster, so you can click on each photo for a better view.
I have kept this project simple and affordable. I bought a two-foot tree at Wal Mart for $10. Most of my ornaments cost a dollar or less, and they came from Wal Mart or Hobby Lobby (the latter frequently puts the ornaments on half-off during the holiday season; you can find that info here).
Here are a few of the ornaments I bought out-right, with no craftiness involved whatsoever (I'm not going to try to link to the particular Bible story, just to save time, but you can find the devotions we use here):
Here is a globe, for the creation story:
Here's a heart, to represent Mary's pure and loving heart:
This was meant to be a decorative icicle, but we use it for Queen Esther's sceptre:
Here's my favorite--the very last ornament, the one we hang on Christmas Eve:
This next one we use when we talk about King David:
To demonstrate how God used the prophets to unlock the mysteries of the future, we use a key:
Another of my favorites, here is a lion for the story of Daniel in the lions' den. I'm guessing Daniel's lions weren't this cute:
A few of my ornaments come from the small, wooden cut-out shapes you can find at most craft stores (for 50 cents or less each). They're very easy to paint--you don't have to be an artist (I'm certainly not). Below are some ornaments I made with that method.
For our very first ornament, in which we explain the meaning behind the phrase "Jesse Tree", I painted this wooden piece:
Of course, what else would I pick for the story of Jonah:
When we learn about John the Baptist coming to prepare the way for Jesus, we use this water splatter design. Get it? Water? Baptism? This one is kind of a stretch, but it gets the point across:
Noah, of course, got a rainbow (this wooden cut-out was actually pre-painted.)
For some of my ornaments I had to get a little more creative. For Jacob and his dream about the ladder to Heaven, I got a wooden cutout intended to be a picket fence for a dollhouse. I cut off the top points and, VOILA! A ladder:
The Ten Commandments were easy--this is just parchment-style paper glued to cardstock, and I free-handed it:
When we talk about how God chose Joseph, a carpenter, to be Jesus' earthly father, I use a hammer made out of aluminum foil and brown felt glued on card stock:
For Joseph's coat of many colors, I found some striped fabric and cut it out in the shape of a coat (with a cardboard backing to give it form):
During the devotion about God choosing little Bethlehem as a birthplace for His Son, we hang this ornament, made out of craft foam and glitter:
Here is Abram's tent, made simply out of felt (and again, cardboard backing):
Here is Rahab's rope--it's simply twine bundled up:
For the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, I downloaded this picture on-line, printed it and colored it with markers:
For Sarah's much longed-for pregnancy, I put this scrapbook sticker on cardstock and simply cut it out:
During the lesson about how the Israelites watched and waited for the Messiah, we hang this ornament (a watchtower), which is actually from the dollhouse supply aisle at a craft store:
I cannot express strongly enough what a meaningful tradition this has been for our family. We always try to emphasize with each Bible story/ornament how that particular episode in the Old Testament pointed toward Christ. For example, over the weekend we talked about when Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the garden. We explained that their sin (and our subsequent sin) was why Jesus had to come to Earth in the first place--to save us! In every story, Christ is present, in one form or another (sometimes it's subtle). Looking for that link, and sharing it with your children is, at moments, breathtaking.
For more Jesse Tree resources, see the sidebar at Advent For Evangelicals.
Since this has turned into an All-Jesse-Tree-All-The-Time post, I might as well include a Mr. Linky below and let you jump in. If you're writing about your own Jesse Tree project at any point this Christmas season--(pictures are great, but not required)--post your link(s) below. Please only link if you're posting about your Jesse Tree. Non-related links will be removed.