Christmas Jesse Tree Tradition: Celebrating Advent with a Rich History

Discover the Origins, Symbolism, and Family Traditions of the Jesse Tree

Origins of the Jesse Tree

Biblical Roots

The Jesse Tree is a symbolic representation of Jesus’ genealogy that traces back to Jesse, the father of King David. This tradition originates from the prophecy in the Old Testament, specifically in the book of Isaiah (11:1), which states, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”

The Jesse Tree in Medieval Art

During the medieval period, the Jesse Tree was frequently depicted in illuminated manuscripts, stained glass windows, and stone carvings found in churches and cathedrals across Europe. This art form served as a visual representation of the connection between Jesus, his ancestors, and the stories of the Old and New Testaments.

Modern Adaptation and Usage

In modern times, the Jesse Tree has become a popular Advent tradition for many Christian families. It serves as a way to teach and remember the story of God’s salvation plan throughout history, leading up to the birth of Jesus.


Jesse Tree Symbols

Old Testament Symbols

Each ornament on the Jesse Tree represents a biblical story or event. Here are some examples of symbols from the Old Testament:

  • Creation: An ornament depicting the Earth, sun, moon, and stars.
  • The Fall: A fruit or serpent ornament to symbolize Adam and Eve’s sin.
  • Noah’s Ark: A boat or rainbow ornament to commemorate God’s covenant with Noah.
  • Abraham and Isaac: A ram or altar ornament to represent God’s test of Abraham’s faith.

New Testament Symbols

Jesse Tree ornaments also include symbols from the New Testament:

  • The Annunciation: An angel or lily ornament to represent the angel Gabriel announcing Jesus’ birth to Mary.
  • The Visitation: An ornament depicting Mary and Elizabeth, celebrating their meeting during pregnancy.
  • The Nativity: A manger or star ornament to symbolize Jesus’ birth.
  • The Presentation: An ornament representing the Temple or a pair of doves to commemorate Jesus’ presentation in the Temple.

Making Your Own Jesse Tree

Gathering Materials

To create your own Jesse Tree, you’ll need a small tree or branch to serve as the base. This can be a real tree, an artificial one, or even a large twig placed in a vase or pot. You’ll also need materials to create the ornaments, such as paper, fabric, wood, or clay, as well as hooks or ribbons for hanging them.


Creating the Ornaments

Handmade Ornaments

You can create handmade ornaments using various materials like felt, wood, or clay. Use your creativity to design symbols that represent the biblical stories you want to include. This is a great opportunity to involve your whole family in the process, as children can help in designing and crafting the ornaments.


Printable Ornaments

If you prefer a more straightforward approach, you can find printable Jesse Tree ornaments online. Simply print them on cardstock, cut them out, and attach a ribbon or hook for hanging. This option is especially convenient for those who may not have the time or resources to create handmade ornaments.


Displaying the Jesse Tree

Once you’ve created all your ornaments, display your Jesse Tree prominently in your home. As you add an ornament each day during Advent, the tree becomes a visual representation of the stories leading up to the birth of Jesus.

Jesse Tree Tradition in Families

Incorporating the Jesse Tree into Advent

The Jesse Tree is a meaningful way to celebrate Advent, as it allows families to focus on the biblical stories and characters that preceded Jesus. Each day, a new ornament is added to the tree, accompanied by a reading or reflection on the corresponding biblical story.


Daily Devotions and Reflections

To deepen the spiritual significance of the Jesse Tree tradition, consider incorporating daily devotions or reflections. You can find devotionals online or in books specifically tailored to the Jesse Tree tradition. These resources typically provide scripture readings, prayers, and discussion questions for each day of Advent.

Creating Lasting Memories

The Jesse Tree tradition is not only a way to teach children about the history of God’s salvation plan but also an opportunity to create lasting memories as a family. By participating in this tradition year after year, families can bond over the shared experience and pass down the stories of faith from one generation to the next.



The tradition of the Christmas Jesse Tree is a beautiful way to celebrate Advent and reflect on the stories and characters that led to the birth of Jesus. By creating and displaying a Jesse Tree in your home, you can bring your family closer together, deepen your understanding of the Bible, and create lasting memories during the holiday season.



  1. What is the purpose of the Jesse Tree during Advent? The Jesse Tree is used during Advent to teach and remember the story of God’s salvation plan, leading up to the birth of Jesus.
  2. Where did the Jesse Tree tradition originate? The Jesse Tree tradition is rooted in the biblical prophecy found in Isaiah 11:1, and its imagery was popularized in medieval European art.
  3. What are some examples of Jesse Tree ornaments? Jesse Tree ornaments represent various biblical stories, such as Creation, the Fall, Noah’s Ark, Abraham and Isaac, the Annunciation, and the Nativity.
  4. How can I make my own Jesse Tree ornaments? You can create handmade ornaments using materials like felt, wood, or clay, or use printable ornaments found online.
  5. How can I involve my family in the Jesse Tree tradition? Involve your family by creating ornaments together, reading daily devotions, and reflecting on the biblical stories represented by each ornament.

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