I started this tradition several years ago when my eldest child was about 5. We wanted to count down the days to Christmas, but I was hesitant to use a traditional Santa Calendar (you know the one…25 days ’till Santa comes!). So I researched and found instead a countdown devotional to illustrate the Royal Family Tree of Jesus. All in an easy 25 day countdown!! It is called the Jesse Tree, which refers to a verse in Isaiah, 11:1: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”  Each day is a short devotion starting with Creation to document our lineage to Jesus Christ. Culminating with His birth on the 25th day! What a wonderful easy display of our anticipation!

My children have loved it! (*warning* if you have multiple little, children, they will each want to hang the ornament on the tree each day…so you might want to have them *each* create a set!)

One of my favorite inspirational gals is Ann Voskamp. On her blog “A Holy Experience” you can sign up for her daily email HERE where she includes a download link for “A Jesus Advent Celebration” and walks thru decorating your own Jesse Tree. You will want to print the pages in color, then cut the images out, glue to construction paper (or cardstock if you have some extra hanging around from your scrapbook pile), add a ribbon, and after the daily reading, hang on the tree.

Another (easy) resource to print everything out immediately and get started right away is right HERE! It has all the ornaments in one quick page! Thanks Faith Magazine

How about something for you too? Not just for teaching the kids, but for filling YOUR heart this season as well? Desiring God Ministries has made a free e-book Advent devotional available and it’s really, really good. It only started a few days ago…so you’re NOT too late to jump in! It’s the perfect quick read for reflecting on the life-changing truths of God’s Word in this over-the-top-crazy Christmas season. It’s available in a few different file types, so you can view it on any computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Click HERE to download it. Seriously. Do it. You need this! {Thanks for pushing me Aprile!}

Another neat read is right in the 1st chapter of Matthew, where it lists the lineage of Christ…very interesting! (go HERE to read it online)

Happy Anticipation Celebration of our Savior’s Birth!