A New Tradition: The Jesse Tree


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.



“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?

Bethany is an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor to women and an author. Bethany defines herself as a child of God who loves to use her passion for change to inspire others. She has overcome disabilities, wading through the trials and rewards of marriage and motherhood. She enjoys being a wife to Steve for 10 years and mother to three boys (ages 7, 5 and 2). She is a double brain cancer survivor, a 9 year veteran in the field of youth and children's ministry and has published poetry, featured blog posts for numerous ministry websites and children's ministry curriculum contributions. Bethany is currently working on her first book to be released this Fall as well as various freelancing projects. Bethany always welcomes new coaching clients and speaking opportunities!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

15 thoughts on “A New Tradition: The Jesse Tree

  1. 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

  2. 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.

    • 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    • 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!).

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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