Step Out & Thrive Ministries with Bethany Boring
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A New Tradition: The Jesse Tree

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My older boys sat calmly at the counter a few days ago, tinkering around with the various veggie characters of our acclaimed VeggieTales manger scene.

“Here comes Mary” the oldest shouted.

“Mary, where should we stay?” said our middle child in a deep voice like Joseph must have had.

“There’s no room anywhere. We are stuck in this dumpy barn” a voice cried.

“Baaaa”

“Moooo”

“And they put baby Jesus in the cow dish that probably had cow spit in it too” our oldest said.

Ewwww..yet, if you really think about it, he is right on.

Our kids know the birth story of Jesus. They have been in the plays, watched the animated movies, sang the songs and yes, replayed the scene with little veggietales without hands or feet.

But ask them what came before Jesus’ birth and you would get silence. After Jesus’ birth would most likely be the cross but then more silence.

Granted, our boys are 4 and 6, but I wanted them to start gaining a bigger Biblical focus this Christmas. Jesus’ birth wasn’t an attempt of an unorganized, completely spontaneous God. His birth was perfectly timed and the stories of those that made up His family line literally show how amazing His story is. And that family tree goes right into our family and includes our kids, right now. No mistakes here. Everyone has a purpose.

We are doing Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas
This was gifted to us from a dear friend who loves our kids as her very own grandkids. Each evening, after the chaos of after-dinner cleaning and baths are complete, the kids and I gather right by our lit-up Christmas tree. We read a Bible story about a person in our Jesse tree – an account of a person that is in Jesus’ family tree and our family tree.

You see, Jesse was the father of David. David was in the line of Jesus. It all ties together simply and easily. So incredibly simple that my 4 year-old and 6 year-old can understand it and literally fight over who gets to hang up the next ornament every single night. The stories we learn together stick with them. They provide conversations at the dinner table, a-ha moments before bed and they are beginning to realize Gods story can be their story too.

That’s one big root.

Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭11‬:‭1-2, 10‬ NLT)

These descendants we are learning about now hang on our Jesse tree. They have entered our family. They are now part of our story.

God wants so much more than just to be a part of your family’s Christmas. He wants you to learn His story. 

[tweetthis]God wants more than just to be part of your family’s Christmas. He wants you to learn His story. [/tweetthis]

God wants you to see His hand rooted in your story. 

[tweetthis]God wants you to see His hand rooted in your story. [/tweetthis]

If you can’t find His hand, take a glance back at the Jesse Tree. From Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ruth and beyond – God sinks His story into the roots of our hearts. Out of your life grows a line directly back to Him and linked to them. That is truly a picture to great for words but worth every moment planting the seeds in the hearts of my boys.

What traditions have you found to be the most rewarding?

About the Author Bethany

I am an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor to women and an author. I am an author, blogger, ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach, Motivational and Inspirational Speaker and encourager. More than anything, I define myself as a child of God. I simply desire to use my passion for thriving (getting every single drop out of life) to inspire others. I have overcome disabilities (coloboma vision-loss, severe hearing-loss and a small right arm). I am a double brain cancer survivor. I use the story God has given me to move beyond what I am surviving and thrive in His promises. I enjoy being a wife to Steve for over 12 years and mother to three boys (ages 9, 7 and 4).

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15 comments
Sarah Travis says December 15, 2014

That is such an awesome study to go through with your boys 🙂 I wish I was sitting with you all listening and learning!

    Bethany says December 15, 2014

    Sarah…it would be a BLAST to have you with us! Anytime!

Susan Shipe says December 15, 2014

I had never even heard of the Jesse Tree when I was raising my children – I think it is wonderful to have such a beautiful, hands-on experience sharing it with your kids each night! xo

    Bethany says December 15, 2014

    Thanks so much Susan! This has been such a perfect new tradition for our family! So glad we found this gift! Love your comments friend!!

Jenny says December 15, 2014

We have fallen so far behind on the Jesse Tree this year. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to remember the history of Christ. Maybe we’ll curl up with some hot chocolate and have a Jesse Tree reading marathon.

    Bethany says December 15, 2014

    Jenny – We missed a few days and then my kids were like, “Mom, you can’t just skip the days! We need to meet more of our family!” Ha! So’ we do have a marathon some nights too! It’s ok!!! Everything is better with hot chocolate anyway!

Colleen Mitchell says December 15, 2014

I love the tradition of the Jesse Tree and the only way I could think to make it more beautiful is to have Ann script the narrative. So glad you found this resource for your family.

Mary Collins says December 15, 2014

What a wonderful post. I love the way you are teaching your children about Jesus and in such a creative way. The children sound like they are fully engaged in learning these stories.

    Bethany says December 15, 2014

    Mary – Most it from the book, the other portion stems from my children’s ministry days!

Tara says December 15, 2014

What a cool idea! I love how your boys were telling the story with their Veggie Tale figurines. So sweet. And they definitely know the story, don’t they?

    Bethany says December 15, 2014

    Ha! Yes…the VeggieTales manger scene has done wonders for my kids! We need a new one, eventually…they just play with it constantly (a great thing by the way!).

susan says December 16, 2014

We’ve been doing the same study this advent. It’s been awesome to watch the story of God unfold before my sons’ eyes. Such a blessing to help them make those connections.

Diane says December 19, 2014

Wow you are an inspiration. We have a house full of boys too – hence my blog name “5 little monkeys.” I have a 13-year-old who has survived many health issues as well. I would love for you to read “Changed By a Child” (Sam’s Story) on my blog, when you get a chance. God bless you.

    Bethany says December 19, 2014

    Will do! Taking time off to spend with my 3 Little Monkeys, but thanks for reaching out!

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