This past weekend I finally finished the last of the ornaments for our family’s Jesse Tree. This is quite an accomplishment for a person as averse to sewing as I am.
I have at least managed to keep ahead of our daily readings with the required ornaments, so since November 30th, we’ve been finding time after supper to sit down as a family and have “Jesse Tree Time.” We read the related Scripture for the day, then read the reflections that we found, which include some simple questions. We often have to adapt the readings and the questions for our girls (who are 1 and 3), but they’re able to absorb a surprising amount. It’s a real honour for the girls to find and hang up the appropriate ornament on the tree, which means we can actually get them to sit relatively still by telling them that whoever is the quietest can hang up the ornament.
We’ve found that it helps to read at bedtime the same Bible story that we discussed during Jesse Tree Time. We were given a great Bible for preschoolers that has a good mix of pictures and easy-to-understand text, so that’s what we use at bedtime. I think that reading the two versions of the story helps our girls to remember both the story and the lessons they’re learning, many of which are about obeying, loving, and being kind.
The lessons seem to be making quite an impression: A couple of days ago I listened as our 1-year old, Charlotte, was “reading” from a picture Bible, saying emphatically “I obey you! I obey you!” Too cute. (Now if we could just get her to understand that “obey” means “do what Mommy and Daddy tell you”, we’d be set …)
Tasha has been doing some serious reflecting, too. There was one night where our discussion question was, “What are some things that we do that are disobedient to God?”
We were curious to hear what Tasha’s concept of disobedience might be. She considered the question for a while and then earnestly pronounced, “Well, when I take off my slippers, that’s disobeying God.”
I am absolutely loving the moments together that this tradition has sparked for us.