Each year at Christmas, our family decorates a Jesse Tree. Every ornament on the tree is specially selected to help us trace God’s hand in redemptive history. The Christmas season culminates with ornaments to remind us of Christ’s birth.
At Easter, we re-purpose this tree. Some of the ornaments remain the same, but the stories now build toward the events of Passion Week.
This has been a wonderful tool to help our children see the connection between the Old and New Testament. An Easter tree helps our little ones begin to see how events such as the Passover point toward Christ, our Passover Lamb.
If you’ve never done a tree like this before, this Easter is the perfect time to start! The Easter season is not as hectic as the Christmas season, so you may find it easier to pull this project together.
For instructions about making your own redemptive history tree, as well as links to paper ornaments, see my original post about the Jesse Tree. For our tree, we use repurposed Christmas ornaments. You can take a week for this activity or a month.
At Christmas, we hang one ornament during our family devotions each night in December. We read the accompanying scripture and talk briefly with the children about it. At Easter, we condense the initial ornaments and focus more on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, spending about 10 nights talking about the tree.
Here are some ideas to get you started. These ornaments would work well for either a Jesse Tree (Christmas) or an Easter Tree.
- The Creation, Genesis 1, a globe ornament
- The Fall, Genesis 3, a toy snake
- Noah and the Flood, Genesis 6-9, an ark ornament
- Abraham and Sarah, Genesis 12, a star ornament to illustrate the covenant
- Abraham and Isaac, Genesis 22, a tiny toy knife hung by a ribbon on the handle
- Jacob and Esau, Genesis 27, twins
- Passover, Exodus 12, a lamb
- Ten Commandments, Exodus 20, a cutout paper in the shape of tablets
- Israel desires a king, 1 Samuel 8, a crown
- The Prophets, Jonah, an ornament of Jonah in the whale
- The birth of Jesus, Luke 2, Christmas manger ornament
Here are some more ornament and scripture possibilities for Easter week:
- Boyhood of Jesus in Egypt, Matthew 2, palm tree ornament
- Baptism of Jesus, Luke 3, a dove ornament
- Temptation of Jesus, Luke 4, another toy snake
- Palm Sunday, Matthew 21, small branch
- Cleansing the temple, Mark 11, a small piece of leather to resemble a whip
- Jesus anointed, John 12, a small satin box with a sample size perfume spray inside
- Judas plots, Matthew 26, a bag of chocolate foil wrapped coins
- The Last Supper, Luke 22, a Play Mobil toy cup or a little plastic communion cup
- Crucifixion, Luke 23, a cross
- Mystery Saturday, 1 Peter 3: 18-22, no ornament
- Resurrection Day, Easter Sunday, Mark 16, an empty Easter egg (empty tomb).
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