For several years I’ve seen references to Jesse Trees. This year I felt it was time to check into the whole story behind these Advent trees and to see what they are all about. After reading up on the meaning and history of this Christmas tradition I created some printable ornaments. I did have A LOT of help from my oldest daughter, Rachel! She shared her artwork so I could create these little ornaments!
Rachel’s Jesse Tree artwork will be featured in St. Mary’s Messenger Magazine, too!
What is a Jesse Tree?
A Jesse Tree represents the family tree of Jesus Christ. Each ornament represents a story from the Bible that tells about God’s people before Jesus was born. Each Story shows God’s salvation plan and tells how He guided humanity to prepare for the coming of the Messiah.
The tradition of the Jesse Tree dates back to the middle ages. The name “Jesse Tree” comes from Isaiah 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” Jesse is the father of King David. The savior was to come from David’s family line.
What is the tradition?
During the Advent season, a Bible Story is read which relates to Jesus family or God’s people. After the Bible story is read and discussed, an ornament is placed on a tree – the Jesse Tree. This was often done from the beginning of Advent to Christmas Day.
Traditionally the Bible stories corresponded with the readings from Daily Mass so the number of ornaments and the stories that were read changed from one year to the next. This meant that new Jesse Tree ornaments needed to be created each Advent. Because of this, there are many versions of the Jesse Tree.
Sadly our version does not follow along with the daily Mass readings, but our version was created to be simple and easy to use at home and in the classroom. Ours begins on Dec. 1, continues till Dec. 25, and it can be used the same way every year.
You will need:
- printable ornaments – printed on stock paper
- colored pencils or crayons
- cutting tools – scissors – OR – 2 ½ hole punch (perfect for cutting these ornaments)
- a tree – see tree instructions
- Hanger Material – one of these: string and needle –tape or tack-putty- stapler – metal hooks
- a Bible
You may like to hang your Jesse tree ornaments on your Christmas tree or you can create a tree just for these ornaments.
If you want to create a tree, there are many different ways to accomplish this.
For example: create a tree shape from paper and attach it to a wall (use tack-putty) or add a paper tree to a large bulletin board. You could also create a tree with evergreen branches or bare sticks and branches. Use an indoor ficus tree or branches from a craft store. The options are countless. Just look around and see what works for you in your situation.
After the ornaments are colored, cut them out. A 2 ½ inch hole punch is the perfect size to use on these circles! That would make this cutting job very quick and easy!
Each day from Dec. 1 to Dec. 25 read the Bible story and discuss it. Then add the corresponding ornament to the tree. Twenty-Five scripture readings are listed on the printable! Just grab your Bible or find a website with a Catholic Bible!
Want to download this free printable?
For the Catholic crafter who likes to work with felt…
Elizabeth and I are currently working to make felt versions of some Jesse Tree ornaments! You know how we LOVE felt ornaments!! If you would also prefer to make felt ornaments you might like to hop over to Jen at Faith and Fabric! Jen has just released an ebook with her felt Jesse Tree ornament patterns. These are gorgeous little felt ornaments!