If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate Advent, here is one of our favorite first posts, with Bley’s beautiful Jesus Tree Ornaments.
2018 Edit: If you’d just like Scripture readings rather than using the full Jesus Tree devotional, here you go.
For the past few years, we have been trying to keep a quiet Advent, and one way we do this is by using a Jesus Tree devotional. A lovely friend recommended the Jesus Tree Devotional by Rachel Chaney, which is based on The Jesus Storybook Bible. It has proven to be an easy and meaningful way for us to keep our focus on the spirit of Advent, and build up to the celebration of Christmas. The devotional itself is straightforward and easy to use: there is a symbol with corresponding Bible text for days 1-25 of December, and then a script/story that you read aloud to your children. A traditional hymn follows to sing, and there is an ornament that you can cut out and color with your children. The thing I love about this devotional is that it makes it so easy on Mom: all you have to do is read the story word for word with your children. It only takes about 5-10 minutes every day, and we try to do it over breakfast, just to make sure we fit it in. If this is all we manage to do to observe Advent, then I consider it a success!
Because I am an artist, I took the opportunity to create my own ornament designs so that we have something special to use and look forward to year after year. They are now in a printable format for you to download and use in your Jesus Tree work if you wish. The easiest way to make them last for a while is to print the designs out in color, cut into squares, or circles, then laminate. Punch a hole and add ribbon. The designs are also available to order on fabric, if you wish to make a more tactile set. One yard of fabric will make 3 sets of 25 ornaments.
Over the years we have transitioned from buying our Christmas tree in early December and decorating it right away, to purchasing it and putting up just the lights. Now, we use our Jesus Tree ornaments to decorate day by day until Christmas Eve, when we enjoy adding the rest of our family ornaments in preparation for Christmas. Since I have a decidedly black thumb, we may just wait on the tree altogether until perhaps the week before Christmas. In that case, we will either string our ornaments to create a garland in the living room, or maybe get a small artificial tree to use.
These ornament designs were created to be enjoyed, so please feel free to make a set to share or gift to friends or family!
Find the downloadable ornaments here: Jesus Tree Ornaments