The Jesse Tree is an Advent tradition to start with your family this year. The Jesse Tree is a Christmas tradition that dates back many years and brings the meaning of the holiday season in a whole new way. Great for kids and adults, this spiritual tradition is used by individuals, families, and churches across the world.
What Is A Jesse Tree?
A Jesse Tree or, as it is sometimes known, the tree of Jesse, is a symbolic tree that is used in the lead up to Christmas.
Throughout advent, many people decorate their Jesse tree as a way to tell the stories of the Bible, particularly those related to the family tree of Jesus. The tradition of having a Jesse Tree is common in Christian religions that celebrate the birth of Jesus as the Savior of the world.
This is a wonderful family activity and fits in well with the theme of patience associated with advent, as well as giving your family time to reflect on the importance of remembering the birth of Jesus and those who came before Him.
The Story of the Jesse Tree
As we look to the Bible, we see that the Jesse Tree may have its origins as far back as the book of Isaiah.
“A shoot will come up out of the stump of Jesse, then a branch will grow up out from its root.”Isaiah 11:1
In a symbolic sense, you can see that Jesse was the father of one of the most famous kings in the Bible, David. We know that Jesus descended from David, and this verse shows us that Jesus would be the branch that grew from the tree.
God promised the world that His son would descend from this family tree, and so it happened.
How Does A Jesse Tree Work?
On each day of advent (the month of December), families gather around their Jesse tree and spend time reflecting and decorating the tree. As mentioned, this is ideal for families and church groups, especially those with children as it brings everyone together through the Word of God.
Three Parts Of A Jesse Tree
There are three main elements of a Jesse tree. Each element has a specific meaning and part to play in the Jesse tree tradition.
Let’s look at the three elements and what they mean.
1. The Jesse Tree
Choose or create a tree that will be your Jesse tree.
You are free to use whichever type of tree you would like when choosing your Jesse tree; however, many people opt for an evergreen, similar to those used as a traditional Christmas tree.
It is important to remember that the Jesse tree is not the same as a Christmas tree.
Evergreens are a popular choice due to their natural beauty, or you can use a small artificial Jesse tree that you can reuse year after year.
Some people even choose to create their very own Jesse tree from card or construction paper.
There is no set size for a Jesse tree, so be creative. Make the most of the space you have within your home and choose a tree that works well for you. Many people opt to decorate their tree with lights to make it bright and special.
You can even purchase trees with 24 branches that make it very easy to hang an ornament each day, but this detail isn’t necessary to maintain the tradition.
2. Bible Readings
The most important part of the Jesse Tree is the Bible readings which go along with decorating it, because God’s Word is living and active.
There are a number of Jesse tree devotion books or online studies you can use. These have a daily devotion and Bible reading for reach day of Advent. There are devotions for couples, families, those in need, and many more.
Here is one example of a daily Jesse tree devotion with Bible verses.
3: Jesse Tree Ornaments and Decorations
Along with the Bible readings, place a decoration on your Jesse tree each day. Most commonly the decorations which you will place will be symbolic of the story you have just read.
There are so many choices for decorating your Jesse tree.
This is an excellent way for children to get involved. If neither of these ideas takes your fancy, you can find a multitude of printable Jesse tree decorations online, and many of these come with a story too.
Why Include A Jesse Tree In Your Family Traditions?
As we have mentioned, a Jesse tree is the perfect family activity for Advent and the lead up to Christmas.
All too often in our modern, busy lives, it is easy to lose sight of why we celebrate at this time of year. By spending some dedicated time each day decorating your Jesse tree and reading Bible stories, you can reconnect with God, His promises, and why we are celebrating.
Getting children involved with the true meaning of Christmas is a great way to teach them in a hand’s on approach. It introduces them to the promises that God made years before Jesus was born.
It will also give your children a chance to recognize how God’s promises are still coming true today, making the concept easier for them to understand.
Above all, spending quality family time together is essential. Making Jesse tree decorations and getting together each day will bond your family and strengthen your relationships with one another.
Jesse Tree Resources
You can learn even more about this meaningful tradition by reading books.
Here are some great books on Amazon that go into a lot more detail about why this can become a new favorite holiday activity and give you devotions to do as a family:
- The Jesse Tree: Stories and Symbols of Advent
- Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to Prepare for the Coming of the Christ Child at Christmas
- The Jesse Tree: An Advent Devotional
If you want some really fun Jesse Tree ornament ideas, be sure to check out the ideas over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.
Will You Have A Jesse Tree This Year?
A Jesse tree is a beautiful way of celebrating Advent by reading Bible stories and decorating a tree with symbols of these stories. Each day you will take part in a Bible story featuring a different character and theme and then place a decoration on your Jesse Tree.
The choices for Jesse trees are endless, so whether you want a huge real tree or a simple tree made from cardstock, no choice is wrong. Once you’ve set up your tree, the fun can begin with family time taking priority and God being the central focus.
Will you incorporate a Jesse Tree tradition this year?