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Consider Building a Jesse Tree

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

One of our favorite traditions was to build a Jesse tree throughout the month of December. The term "Jesse tree" comes from Isaiah 11:1 - "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots" and is a way of teaching the Old Testament background for the Messiah and showing how all of God's promises have been fulfilled.

A Jesse tree can be a small tree, a banner, a tree branch, a mobile, or any other thing used to hang ornaments. A special ornament is hung each day of the Advent season, and a corresponding reading teaches the story and meaning for each ornament. Families can incorporate this into their family worship time during this season. Most years, we did the Jesse tree lesson and hanging of the ornament at the beginning of our homeschool day and still did a separate family worship in the evenings. Here are some links to some jesse tree ornaments you can print or make:…/…/19971201/FRIDGE/FRIDGE1.HTM…/h…//

I really like these free ornaments that can be printed and go along perfectly with Ann Voskamp's book: Unwrapping The Greatest Gift. Faithword (above) also has ornaments you can print.…

I had some handmade ornaments that are pretty tattered after being used for fifteen years but I will hold onto them because they hold such special memories for all of us surrounding this special tradition. I believe that teaching my kids this each year has given them a solid foundation in the Old Testament and helped them see how the Messiah had been planned for and promised since the beginning of time.

A great idea to get handmade ornaments without too much labor and a little fun is to throw a Jesse tree ornament exchange party. Each person (or family) coming to the party would make a set number of the same of several of the ornaments and then bring them to exchange so that everyone leaves with a complete set. For example, if you invited five friends, each friend would bring five sets of five ornaments. Then, everyone would exchange four of their sets so that each person attending the party would leave with a complete set of Jesse tree ornaments.

I always displayed my Jesse tree at the entrance to my home because it made for a good conversation piece and an opportunity for me to talk about Jesus with a neighborhood or other person who came to my home. It was never a beautiful tree and smaller in stature, so it often brought questions about what the tree's purpose was. What a great invitation for me to talk about the real meaning of Christmas and how we celebrated Jesus intentionally all December!

Have you ever heard of the Jesse tree?

Where have you found great Jesse tree ornaments?

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