Monday, the 2nd day of advent

Jesse Tree:
Isaiah 11:1 "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots will bear fruit."
A Jesse Tree is a marvelous way to learn and to remember the Old Testament and God's faithfulness as we look at how it all directs us to the glorious revelation of Christ.

The first day of Jesse Tree celebrations begins with choosing the tree.  There are many ways to make a Jesse Tree, the simplest being to tack a large green triangle to the back of a door and add ornaments daily.  This could be done with velcro, hooks, or buttons and does not need to be complicated to be treasured.

My family prefers to add Jesse Tree ornaments and verses on weekdays only, during our regular school hours.  Our Jesse Tree decor isn't traditional, but it works fine; we use a tree branch and suspend it horizontally on the wall, hanging ornaments with string, but many Jesse Trees are vertical and are "planted" in a bucket, pot, or vase.

Our first day for the Jesse Tree begins with hunting down the perfect branch.  We like one with a nice curve to it and lots of tiny branches for hanging our ribbons.  I use the removable 3M or Scotch hooks.  These are flexible, so they hold all shapes of tree branches and allow them to stick out from the wall a bit.  Also, they leave zero residue when it comes time to take down our “tree”.

Verses to Know
I encourage the kids to memorize a verse each day with the Jesse Tree readings.  We’ve never successfully memorized them all, but they are surprised each year how quickly the verses come back to them.  The very purpose of the Jesse Tree is to tell the story of the gospel from beginning to end and what better way to do that than with scripture hidden in our hearts?  Today’s verse is a promise of things to come.  A promise of Christ to come:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.    - Isaiah 11:1

Jesse was father to David, who was in the lineage of Christ.  Today’s verse is not chronological.  Today we learn that God is sovereign and has always known what His plans would be.  Tomorrow, we begin with creation and work our way forward.

Here are just a few Downloadable Ornaments. Check our Jesse Tree page for many more.

Homeschool In The Woods has an amazing unit study called History of Holidays, which includes beautiful Jesse Tree ornaments to print and color.  If you have ever used anything from Homeschool In The Woods, you know that the quality here is amazing.  This set is not free, but very affordable, especially when you consider that it covers holidays year round, not just for Christmas.

To Explore:  The Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath’s predecessor was rooted in paganism as Scandinavian peoples celebrated Saturnalia by lighting candles in a wheel made from evergreen branches.  During long, dark winters the people looked at the evergreen as a symbol of hope of life and the return of the sun.  

As Vikings converted to Christianity, these fierce people embraced their new faith with exuberance.  The hardy evergreen came to represent eternal life rather than spring.  A single candle was lighted to represent the Christ, the light of the world.

Today is a fun day to read about Viking roots and to make a homemade wreath craft. For a wreath, simply begin with a wreath form cut out of cardboard, construction paper, or even a paper plate. After cutting out a ring, attach items such as buttons, puzzle pieces, cut outs of hand-prints, sequins, ribbon scraps, or whatever you like to achieve many different looks. The images below contain links to project sources.

Christmas Around the World: Let’s learn about Norway!  

  • Here are Geography Notebooking pages that I created for my own kids to use. They aren't fancy, but my kids prefer it that way so they can make it their own creation. They work together to color the flag and mark major cities, rivers, etc. in the map section.
God jul og godt nytt år! means "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!"

Hands On (cooking, coloring, creating)
  • Make a Julenek, a sheaf of grain Norwegians place outside for the birds each Christmas. 
  • Bake Pfefferneusse (recipe below)
  • Try your hand at Nalbinding, also known as the Oslo Stitch
  • More coloring pages are listed below, courtesy of Q is for Quilter
Peppernuts, also known as Pfefferneusse
1/2 cup molasses 
1/2 cup butter 
1 egg, beaten 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup white sugar 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 pinch salt 1 pinch ground black pepper 
1/3 cup powdered sugar 

1. Heat molasses with butter, stirring until melted. Let sit to cool. Stir egg into molasses mixture. 
2. Mix dry ingredients, except powdered sugar. Add to molasses and butter gradually. Blend thoroughly. 
3. Roll into small balls. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar. 

Coloring Pages:



Here is an accompanying craft for Jan Brett's Christmas Trolls book. 
Coloring pages for Trouble with Trolls: Page 1 and page 2