Jesse Trees and CCE

I've got to be honest – I've never liked the concept of the Jesse Tree. It just seemed so goofy… and of all the Things To Do during Advent, it was just one more. A lot of extraneous effort for little benefit. Boring. The best enthusiasm I could produce for such a project was my short lived idea for a set of ornaments (for my Christmas tree, because I wasn't doing two trees) using Jesse Tree symbols and representing a different craft technique. And that fizzled out because I couldn't come up with 25 different craft techniques.

And then GeekBaby started singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

There's nothing wrong with Rudolph, per se, but I was at a loss to where he learned it. And so I asked him.


Really? Of all the million useful things they could be teaching my four year old in CCE, they picked Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? And then they wonder why people are poorly catechized!

In fairness, I haven't had a chance to confirm this with the teacher yet, but GeekBaby is generally reliable with his sources. And the only other possible source is my mom, who reports he showed up singing a mangled version on Thursday morning (which correlates nicely with Wednesday night's CCE class).

If I was paying for the CCE class (which, while not expensive, is still a semi-significant lump) I'd be furious and they'd know it. Since GeekBaby gets in without the tuition because Himself and I are teachers, I need to find the pants I left my tact in and hope they still fit.

And in the meantime, I have to figure out how to catechize my son myself. This will sound strange for someone who teaches CCE, but this is just terrifying. I've only taught kids who were big enough to think about and respond to ideas. My preferred age is high schoolers, but since they moved all the HS catechesis to Sunday, I've been teaching 5th graders. I don't have a clue how to teach littles, that's why I sent my son to CCE in the first place!

But now I've got to do it, since they aren't. And while all this is going on, Erin @ And Sometimes Tea and Charlotte @ Waltzing Mathilda are doing a Jesse Tree project, with readings, reflections, and black and white symbols for coloring. For a four year old, it looked like just the thing. So I swallowed my “we don't do Jesse Trees” pride and hit print.

Yes, my rainbow has no purple. Our purple colored pencil was AWOL.

GeekBaby seems to be enjoying himself. He's done all his ornaments himself, with only a little assistance in taping the ribbon to the backs.

As a devotion, I don't know, it still seems vaguely silly. But as a vehicle for catechesis, it's fantastic. Probably the one drawback is some of the readings from Scripture (I've been using the longer ones). It's not their length, it's that so far about half of them have been heavily disjointed, like the story of Noah. I strongly prefer reading the real Bible, instead of a children's version with dumbed down language, but the lack of a narrative structure to some of the readings makes it hard for GeekBaby to track. So far I've done alright improvising transitions between different chunks, but I think I'm going to start reading ahead and revising some.

I'm still super grateful for all the work Erin and Charlotte have put into this. I wasn't up to that much work, and they've done all the grunt work for me. Now it's just 15 minutes of reading and coloring after breakfast each morning, and we're already looking forward to tomorrow.


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4 Responses to Jesse Trees and CCE

  1. melaniebett says:

    It would never have occurred to me to think of the Jesse Tree as a devotion. I’ve always thought of it as a form of catechesis.

  2. Pingback: Head Noises

  3. The modern Jesse Tree is a nice solid way to systematize the Patriarchs (and Matriarchs) in kids’ mind, complete with images to use as memory aids.

    It’d be more medieval to have all the ornaments be circles or globes, though. Medievals loved drawing Jesus’ genealogy as a bunch of circles connected by lines, so medieval Jesse tree illuminations and stained glass also tended toward big circles. (Possibly to connect the various folks as “fruit” of the tree.) This is apropos of nothing, though.

    I like the medieval ones where Jesse is laying down at the foot of the tree and Mary is sort of the top part of the trunk.

    • GeekLady says:

      It may be more medieval for them to be round, but I’m not going to complain, since I didn’t draw them, and the whole shebang is free.

      I was incline to fret over how the rainbow only had six shades to color, but then I realized I’d colored it backwards anyway, so it turned into an exercise of “resist the CDO!”

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