I go back five generations in this land, on each side of my family. And until this year, my whanau knew none of our ancestors earlier than the brave or desperate people who left various parts of the United Kingdom. So I’ve always been in awe of people who can recite their whakapapa, their family tree, back for generations.
Whether you’re like me, and don’t have all that family info in your head, or you’re one of the lucky people who do, it can be pretty cool to trace the whakapapa of Jesus of Nazareth back to when Adam was a cowboy.
A ‘Jesse Tree’ is a fab way of finding how Jesus fits in to the Big Story of the Bible. It’s an Advent activity for anyone (but especially households with kids) who wants to take the focus off Santa and presents and hear a bit about some of Jesus’ earthly ancestors.
For each day of Advent there’s another branch in the family tree, starting with Adam and Eve and going through Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Rahab, Ruth, David – heaps of the flawed heroes of the Hebrew Bible. You can read a book retelling the stories (we’ve got copies to lend), make your own Jesse Tree, even make themed Christmas tree ornaments.
For a beginner’s guide to Jesse Trees, with heaps of resources for making the trees, or just reading the stories, check out resource sites here, here and here (thanks to Kathy for the research!). Maybe this is a year to start a new tradition in your house?