Using a Jesse Tree

How do we teach children how to wait for God’s king?

The Jesse Tree is tried and true Advent tradition, used across Catholic and Protestant communities to tell the story of how God’s people waiting for their king to arrive.

In a classic Christian move, the Jesse Tree kind of reclaims one of those random Christmas traditions – in this case the Christmas tree – and turns it into a beautiful symbol for a gospel truth. Picking up on Isaiah 11, the tree becomes a reminder of God’s promise to restore Israel with a descendant from Jesse’s family.

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
    the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the spirit of counsel and might,
    the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-3

Households and churches that use Jesse Trees fill the tree day by day with different ornaments that represent significant moments in God’s plan to save the world through Jesus – starting with Genesis and ending with the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.

There are so many resources out there to help you set up your own Jesse Tree. Here are some of our favourites. If you aren’t sure where to begin with telling these Old Testament stories, we strongly recommend using the Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s the perfect way to cover the whole Old Testament and Christmas in 24 days.

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