The Jesse Tree:
An Advent Celebration
Many people mark the days of Advent with a calendar, opening a tiny door for each day leading up to Christmas. The Jesse Tree Advent tradition also marks each day from the first Sunday in Advent to Christmas.
We all have a family tree—branches filled with mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Jesus has a family tree as well. In Isaiah 11:1 we read, “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Jesse was the father of David, Israel’s greatest king. And it was from David’s lineage that Jesus came.
The Jesse Tree traces the family heritage of Jesus through Advent. It reminds us that the coming of Jesus was long prophesied, and that in the stories of his ancestors, we can hear echoes of his own life, death, and resurrection.
Each symbol on the Jesse Tree represents a story in Jesus’ family line. The stories help us remember Jesus’s family and our place in it—we remember our adoption into God’s family. And as we teach the next generation, we pray that they will find themselves in this family as well as the Spirit gives them living faith.
Suggestions for using this devotional guide
Jesse Tree Resources:
Questions and symbols in the readings and ornaments are adapted from:
Jesse Tree Devotions by Grace Claus (www.rca.org/jessetree);
The Advent Jesse Tree, by Dean Meador Lambert;
The Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp.
For alternative print ornaments you can go to: