This is our old Jesse Tree Wreath, one we made years ago with another family, the kids all helping to make the felt ornaments. We would go through the book (by Dean Meador Lambert) each day leading up until Christmas, telling the story of Jesus through the Old Testament up until His birth. Some years it became more of a burden than a gift. In busy years, we would get behind, the guilt would settle in and it would hang on the wall, an uncomfortable reminder of one more thing we should be doing.
We still use it, but as a pretty decoration, a fun reminder of past Christmases, without the guilt.
This year, from aholyexperience.com, I printed out a new Jesse Tree project. We got a little mini-tree in a pot, hung a few small ornaments and a star garland. I cut out the pictures, backed them with cardstock and self-laminating paper, punched a hole, and we hang them with rustic twine. Simple and easy.
The lessons, downloaded from the website, include the Bible verses, a life application, usually some simple project, and an insightful perspective of hope and love.
"A tree with roots deep into the past,
that finger right out through the Old Testament,
back to the very beginning,
and with branches that stretch so high and wide
you can see the whole grand panorama of God's story
from the very first blink of the first star over Eden
to the blinding light over Bethlehem."
You may be light years ahead of me in understanding this, but I am fascinated by the theme of wood through the stories: the stump with the shoot of Jesse, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the saving of the family through the ark made of wood, the armload of wood Abraham and Isaac carried to the sacrifice, the wood of Jacob's ladder, the blood sprinkled on the doorposts in Egypt--all pointing to the wooden manger, and the wooden cross. Profound lessons.
We are staying several days ahead, without the guilt, reading two most days, enjoying the discovery and hanging each new ornament (our little tree will be hidden by the time we are done!).