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In 2009, I read about the Jesse tree, a kind of Advent calendar that traces the lineage of Jesus the whole way through the Old Testament, back to God Himself.
Even though we hadn’t spent much time in church, I wanted to focus our family’s Christmas holiday on Jesus. I wanted time to reflect on Him and pray, and I wanted to share Him with Grace.
I made ornaments for the tree. I collected readings and prayers from books, websites, and friends. I put together a spiral bound flip book of devotionals that first year.
The flip book didn’t work the second year because I had used the dates, and the dates change each year.
I had to start over completely. The second year, I put the devotionals on a stack of index cards held together by a binder ring. That worked, but there wasn’t enough room on the cards for the extra information I needed, like the words for some of the songs and the text of the important Bible verses.
I got it right this year. I made each of the cards into a full page, and I put them all together in a binder. Each page looks more or less like this:
Best of all, at the request of my Bible study friends, I made the devotions into an eBook, a file that I could share with other families to help them create their own Jesse trees.
In the spirit of the holiday, it’s completely free.
But it’s not required.
Celebrate advent. Grow closer to Jesus.