Celebrating Advent – Jesse Tree


Jesse Trees are a very old Christmas Tradition and first started in medieval times. They are used to help tell the story of the Bible from creation to the Christmas Story. The name comes from Jesse who was the Father of the great Jewish King David. One prophecy in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah, which is today’s first reading (Isaiah 11: 1-10). “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.”  The branch is a sign of new life and new beginnings. Jesus was a decedent of King David and Christians believe that Jesus is this new branch.

The first Jesse trees helped illiterate people to learn about the Bible from creation to the Christmas Story. But now Jesse Trees are used as a kind of Advent Calendar. You can use a normal Christmas tree or a banner in the shape of a tree. Each day through advent (or sometimes just on the four Sundays of advent) a special decoration or ornament  that tells a story from the Bible, is hung on the tree.

There are very many different stories and symbols you can use. Below are 25 stories and symbols that you might like to use.

Creation Genesis 1 The earth
Adam and Eve /
Garden of Eden
Genesis 2:4 – 3:24 A tree with fruit or an apple
Noah & the Flood Genesis 6:9 – 9:17 A rainbow
God’s promise
to Abraham
Genesis 12:1-7 & 15:1-6 A tent
Isaac Genesis 22:1-18 A ram
Jacob’s Ladder Genesis 28:10-19 A ladder
Joseph’s Coat Genesis 37 & 50 A multicolored coat or robe
Moses Exodus 2:1 – 4:20 A burning bush
Israelites and
the Passover
Exodus 12:1-42 A lamb
The 10 Commandments Exodus 19:1 – 20:20 Two stone tablets
Joshua and the
fall of Jericho
Joshua 6:1-20 A ram’s horn trumpet
Ruth Ruth (Whole Book) A sheaf of corn
King David 1 Samuel 16:1-3 A six pointed ‘Star of David’
Solomon’s Temple 1 Kings 6 The temple
Elijah and
Baal’s Priests
1 Kings 18:16-39 A bonfire
Isaiah’s ‘Jesse’
Isaiah 11:1-11 A tree stump with a single branch
growing from it
Jonah and the Whale Jonah (Whole Book) A whale
John the Baptist Matthew 3:13-17 A scallop shell
Mary Luke 1:26-38 A white lily
Elizabeth Luke 1:39-56 A mother and child
Zechariah Luke 1:57-80 A pencil and tablet
Joseph Matthew 1:19-25 A carpenter’s hammer
The Shepherds Luke 2:8-20 A fluffy sheep!
The Wisemen Matthew 2:1-12 A gold star or the
three gifts or three crowns
Jesus Luke 2:1-8 A baby in a manger