Idea for Jesse Tree ornaments (Wood burning)

December 2, 2014

Anyone in your family into wood burning?  Here’s a really nice set of Jesse Tree ornaments that could be a good craft activity for an older child…

Jesse Tree resources are always EXTREMELY popular at Lent & Beyond.  Our “All About Jesee Trees” post has nearly 40,000 page views!

You can find all our Jesse Tree resources using the Jesse Tree tag


More Good Advent 2014 Resources for Children and Families

December 2, 2014

From the Diocese of Bath & Wells in the UK– A number of good resources for Advent.  I particularly like the “A is for Advent” poem and the Advent Alphabet ideas

They also have a very good Jesse Tree page – each day of Advent there is a new symbol and accompanying short devotional (including a Scripture verse and prayer) that is posted.

Good list of Advent resources / ideas for preschool & primary age children

November 20, 2014

I’ve linked these two pages of Advent ideas, resources and activities for children in the past, but the links have changed, so I need to link them again:

Weebly.Com – Advent and Christmas resources – early years

Weebly.Com – Advent and Christmas resources – middle – primary

Here’s what I wrote when I first linked them in 2012 (I’ve updated the links)

I just discovered two wonderful compilations of Advent Resources for Children – either for use at home, or especially, in Sunday School Classes.

For very young children, there is this compilation of craft & activity ideas:

Weebly.Com – Advent and Christmas resources – early years

For middle primary aged children, there is this compilation:

Weebly.Com – Advent and Christmas resources – middle – primary

[Update:  I was quite concerned to see that this second compilation included instructions for creating Tibetan prayer mandalas, originating from a Catholic website in Australia.  I would steer clear of that personally, but all of the other linked resources look to be quite solid, and I don’t want to avoid this very valuable compilation because of the one worrisome link.  I try to be careful in what I link, but please use prayerful discernment in evaluating and using resources which we link from other blogs or websites, and please know that a link to a given site does not mean that we at Lent & Beyond endorse everything posted at that site.]

For tonight, I’ll leave it at that.  But as I explore more, I may post more about individual craft or activity ideas listed at the “Ways to Teach” site.

As always, I’d be thrilled to get reader comments and recommendations about Advent crafts, activity ideas, family traditions, etc.

“My Jesse Tree – the Ultimate Guide” and “Bible Characters for Advent” storybook

November 12, 2014

One of our commenters, Theresa, has created a fantastic site all about Jesse Trees:

This is a fantastic guide for making a Jesse tree with your family. It is clear, beautifully laid out with wonderful pictures and organized into 5 sections.  The readings and the pictures that accompany each day’s story are AWESOME.

  1. What is a Jesse Tree
  2. How to Choose Your Tree
  3. Jesse Tree Symbols
  4. Jesse Tree Ornaments
  5. Jesse Tree Readings


The authors (husband and wife) are Franciscans.  The site includes several levels / types of ornaments  (crafts & printables & coloring sheets), awesome pictures and instructions, and readings with full color pictures go along with each ornament.

Note: the readings can be used for free, but they are excerpted from a longer children’s story book:  Bible Characters for Advent, which has a 5-star rating at Amazon!  (There are 20 5-star reviews as of the time I’m writing this.)

ABSOLUTELY WORTH CHECKING OUT the Jesse Tree site and the eBook Bible Characters for Advent

Here are a few of the ornaments:


In case you need MORE Jesse tree info (e.g. for an older age group), here is our Jesse Tree Category with lots more helpful resources.  See especially our All About Jesse Trees entry.

Excellent roundup of Advent activities for Families and Children

November 11, 2014

Christine Sine at Godspace has done a really nice job in her roundup post of suggestions for family Advent Activities.

Need I say more than, go check it out?!?!?

Still neeed more ideas for Family & Children’s Advent activities and crafts?? Here’s the link to all we’ve posted over the years in our Advent: Family & Children category


Update:  Our commenter Theresa has created a site which has a fantastic guide for making a Jesse tree with your family.  Several types of ornaments  (crafts & printables), awesome pictures and instructions, and readings to go along with each ornament.  ABSOLUTELY WORTH CHECKING OUT!!


Most popular Advent posts at Lent and Beyond

November 3, 2014

With the turn of the calendar to November, it doesn’t seem too early now to be thinking about Advent.  I’m hopeful that we will be able to do a significant amount of Advent blogging at L&B this year.  I thought it might be helpful to post a round up of our most popular Advent entries from years’ past.   I’ve already updated some of the entries below with some new links for 2014.  I’ve also begun work on a new compilation of Advent resources, and an updated and comprehensive index of past years’ Advent entries.  Those should be appearing within the coming 7 – 10 days… stay tuned.

And, as always, please leave any recommendations or feedback in the comments.  Thanks!


Most popular Advent entries of all time: (all of these have received 3000+ views!)

Advent Links & Resources: All About Jesse Trees

More Jesse Tree links!

What the Advent Candles Symbolize

Advent Favorites — Henri Nouwen – An Advent Prayer

A Cool Family Advent Idea: An Advent Chain

Advent Links: the Lent & Beyond Advent Resources Compilation

Advent Quotes — Mother Theresa: keeping our lamps burning

Advent Quotes — Frederick Buechner: “First Sunday of Advent”

Creative Advent Calendars

Another creative homemade Advent calendar



Most popular Advent 2013 entries (our most popular new Advent posts from Advent 2013)

100 Songs for Advent! – An Advent Worship playlist (Contemporary – Blended worship)

Advent quotes: Henri Nouwen – Waiting in order to learn

Advent Quotes: Henri Nouwen – The difference between optimism and hope

Advent 2013 Index: Resources, Prayers, Devotionals

An Advent Devotional from John Piper: Good News of Great Joy

Anglican Advent resources for 2013 – blogs, devotionals, etc.

A meditation for Advent: Waiting in Hope

A song for Advent: In the Waiting, by Matt Redman (a rare bonus track)

Advent Worship Music 2013, part 1

The Advent Project – an Online Advent Calendar from Biola University

Advent quotes: we need time to prepare!

Advent history & liturgy – The Octave of Christmas and the O Antiphons

Advent Index: 2008

November 1, 2014

November 2014: We’ll be working this year on creating a comprehensive index of all the most significant Advent entries we’ve posted since we first began blogging in 2004.   We posted extensively during  5 of the last 10 Advent seasons:

  • Advent 2004, Advent 2005 and Advent 2006 (these three years were at our old blogsite),
  • Advent 2008, and
  • Advent 2013. 

(Little was posted during Advent in 2007, and 2009 – 2012.) 

To aid in compiling our complete Lent & Beyond Advent index, I needed to compile an index for 2008, one of our biggest years of Advent blogging (60+ Advent entries). 

Most notable among our Advent 2008 blog entries was the Advent Favorites series, and a number of posts offering round ups of links about celebrating Advent as a family (Jesse Trees, homemade Advent Calendars, Advent Chains, Advent Wreaths).

Note there is some overlap of posts among the various categories listed below.  For the most part, entries are listed in chronological order (most recent first) by category, NOT in order of importance or popularity.


L&B Originals – Advent Devotionals:


L&B Resource and Link Compilations:


Advent Devotionals


Advent: Family & Children


Advent Favorites


Advent Prayers


Advent Quotes


Advent Resources

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