Friday, April 3, 2009
Our Lenten Jesus Tree -- a new tradition
We began a new Lenten tradition in our home this year. We are using a Lenten Jesus tree, a tradition that is somewhat similar to Advent's Jesse tree custom.
In case you aren't familiar with the Jesse tree, I'll briefly explain. During Advent, one reads an Bible passage each day to trace Jesus' lineage from the time of Abraham to His birth. The observance usually ends on Christmas Eve with the reading of the Nativity story. After each reading, you put a symbolic ornament (representing that day's message) on a small tree. For example, after reading about Moses, you might use an ornament decorated with a picture of stone tablets.
I love this tradition and decided to adapt it for the Lenten season. About half way through Lent, we began reading a New Testament passage about Jesus each day. Our readings started with His baptism in the Jordan River, then moved to His public ministry and to the miracles He performed. It will end next week as we read a passage each day relating to the important events during Holy Week.
I created a small wooden tree that I have hung on the kids' bedroom doors. As you can see from the photos, the tree has bare branches with a few leaf buds (just like the trees appear in early spring around here.) With each reading, the kids are given a green wooden leaf to attach to the tree. (The scripture reading is written on each leaf, as the photo close-up shows.) As our readings grow, so does the beauty of the tree with its growing buds and leaves.
Doing this helps them become more familiar with Jesus' life and the important things He did while on earth. And it's a fun way to learn their faith!
But the fun doesn't stop there! Each week from Easter to Pentecost, the kids will add a decorated wooden egg to their tree, while we read various readings from the Acts of the Apostles.
By the end of May, they will have a nicely blooming, decorated tree on their bedroom doors.