Sunday Service: 10:00am  at  Horace Mann Middle School

Jesse Tree: God's Big Advent Story

A simple Daily Devotional for your family: December 1 - 24

If family life during ordinary days is busy (and it is!), family life during Advent is busy times two. There are special events to attend, decorations to hang, gifts to purchase, meals to make, people to serve, and more. It’s challenging to find time to pause, reflect, and wait with wonder to celebrate God’s long-ago messiah promise come true.

We had your family in mind as we put together this Jesse Tree devotional version of our popular God’s Big Story cards boxed set (available from We’ve purposely kept the steps simple to give you a fuss-free and fun way to nurture faith during Advent as you remember God’s faithfulness and celebrate Jesus’ birth together. Each day involves four easy steps: Breathe, Read, Wonder, Pray. No busyness required!

What Is a Jesse Tree?
A Jesse Tree is a centuries-old way of illustrating how God’s story leads to Jesus. A series of ornaments show symbols that represent important people and events in God’s Big Story. Each day in Advent you hang another symbol on a tree and explore the story behind it through devotional readings and activities.

Making the Jesse Tree Symbols
We’ve provided you with 25 story symbols from God’s Big Story Cards. Download them at AdventSymbols, then print them out in one of these two ways:
• Print the symbols on white cardstock. Then simply cut them out, punch a hole at the top, and add a yarn loop for hanging.
• Print the symbols on sticker paper. Our symbol pages are compatible with Avery’s 2-inch diameter round labels (Template #22817), or you can print the symbols on any full-sheet sticker paper and cut them apart. Then stick the symbols to cardstock or wood circles. Punch or drill a hole for a yarn loop for hanging.

Choosing a Tree
When your symbols are assembled, decide where to hang them:
• Place a small tree branch in a flower pot filled with sand, and hang the symbols on it.
• Purchase a small real or artificial Christmas tree, and hang symbols on it.
• Hang the symbols on your family Christmas tree with your other ornaments.

How to Use the Devotions Use the four steps below as a framework for your time together. Hang the symbol for each day’s story when it works best for your family to do so.

BREATHE: Step away from the busyness of the season and calm your head, heart, and hands as together you slowly breathe in . . . and out. (Adjust the length of this time according to your children’s attention spans.)

READ: Spend time in God’s Story by reading the suggested passage from the Bible or from a children’s story Bible. Some days the selections are longer than others. One way to keep all ages engaged is by including them in the telling of the story. You can invite pre-readers to make up an action to do each time they hear a particular word or name. Or assign readers a section of the story to read aloud or have them read the lines of a character as you narrate the story.

WONDER: Use the questions to reflect on the story. We’ve provided you with “wondering questions” because they work well with all ages, they have no right or wrong answers, and they result in deeper thinking about God and about the lives of the people in the story. Encourage kids to use their imagination as you wonder together about these stories. You might want to end this time by asking, “What do you wonder about this story?”

PRAY: Close your time with prayer using the provided suggestions or your own words and ideas. We hope that the Jesse Tree will become a beloved yearly ritual in your home. Let us know how it goes! You can reach us at to share your experiences or ask questions. JESSE TREE: