A Jesse Tree is a Christmas tradition that dates back many years and is still hugely favored today. There are many Christmas traditions all over the world, some being highly popular and others being personal to individual families. The Jesse Tree is a very personal and spiritual Christmas tradition that many families recognize as part of their holiday celebration.
WHAT IS A JESSE TREE?
A Jesse Tree or, as it is sometimes known, the tree of Jesse, is a type of 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.
This is a wonderful family activity and fits in well with the theme of patience associated with advent as well as giving the family time to reflect on the importance of remembering the birth of Jesus and those who came before Him.
WHERE DID THE JESSE TREE IDEA ORIGINATE?
If we look to the bible, we can 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
If we look at this in a symbolic sense, we 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 was.
HOW DOES A JESSE TREE WORK?
On each day of advent, families can gather around their Jesse tree and spend some time reflecting and decorating the tree. As we mentioned, this is ideal for families, especially those with children as it brings everyone together through the word of God.
THREE ELEMENTS OF A JESSE TREE
There are three 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 so you can understand more about each one.
THE ELEMENT OF THE 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 however, that the Jesse tree is not the same as a Christmas tree.
Evergreens are a popular choice due to their natural beauty, and you are free to decide on whether you want an artificial Jesse tree that you can reuse year after year or a real tree.
Some people even choose to create their very own Jesse tree from card or construction paper-feel free to get as creative as you wish!
There is no set size for a Jesse tree, 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, but this is not something that has to be done.
You can even purchase trees with 24 branches that make it very easy to hang an ornament each day.
BIBLE READINGS ELEMENT
Probably the most important part of the Jesse Tree is the bible readings which go along with decorating it.
There is a wealth of books that are filled with advent stories featuring a range of characters from the Bible. The idea is to use one of these stories each day and spend the time exploring the story, taking the message from it as inspiration for that day.
You might choose to use one of the many devotions that you can find online which are tailored to your personal needs. There are devotions for couples, families, those in need, and many more.
These can make the time you spend with your Jesse tree much more unique to you and your family.
Along with the Bible readings, you will also 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.
Again 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, 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 the 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.
Of course, 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. Not to mention that it will help you all get in touch with your inner artist! What could be more fun?
You can learn even more about this meaningful tradition by reading some books.
Here are some great books 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
The internet has some more wonderful resources so that starting this new tradition doesn’t overwhelm you.
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 INCORPORATE 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 card, 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?
Be sure to SHARE this with your friends on social media so they can become familiar with the tradition too!