Making Your Own Jesse Tree
Beginning a new Advent Tradition in your family could not be simpler. A Jesse Tree is a simple ritual that comes with a prayer (see this article) that takes a few minutes. Prepare your family for the joy of Christmas whilst introducing them to the many extraordinary men and women of the Hebrew Scriptures. For more information on the tradition and origins of the Jesse Tree, check out this article.
Easy As. Use the templates to either colour and cut (or simply cut the colour version). Punch a hole in the top, thread some ribbon and hang away!Download Template Here
Branches of Life and Light. Create a dedicated Jesse Tree with some fresh foliage or fallen branches from your garden or a nearby park. Alternatively, purchase some commercial ‘fairy-light’ branches. Arrange them in a vase or bucket. For a Southern Hemisphere variation, decorate one of your garden trees for an outdoor Jesse Tree experience.
Alternative Materials. Fancy a bit more of a challenge? Make your symbols from things found around the house. E.g. for Isaac wrap some cinnamon sticks or garden twigs with twine. For Moses, stone tablets can be made from modelling clay or baked dough.
Some families band together and distribute the symbols. They each make enough copies of the one symbol for each family.
Wall Hanging. If space is at a premium, consider drawing a tree on some poster board. Alternatively, make a banner with heavy material and use fabric scraps to create your symbols.
Fanfold Paper Banner. Create a long cardboard fanfold (12cm/5” high, 10cm/4” wide and x number of Jesse symbols long). Fold so that you have one ‘fanfold face’ for each symbol. Use decorative papers to create your symbols or use the templates attached.
Jesse Cards and Gifts. For something in the ‘season’ but a bit different to the usual themes, make your Christmas cards with Jesse symbols. Want a gift tag that people will keep and use throughout the year? Make it in the shape of a bookmark.
Calling all Holy Men and Women. Use the Litany of Jesse found here, an adaptation of the Litany of Saints, to pray up some serious prayer power!
Jesse Tree Symbols
Decide how many you will need – if you plan to do one symbol each day of December, you’ll need 24. If you only expect to do this once a week, choose four symbols. It’s entirely up to you! The list is not exhaustive – there are many other great prophets and ancestors in the Jewish story.
Symbol (choose one)
|God the Father Gen 1||Sun, Earth|
|Adam & Eve Gen 2,3||Fruit, fig leaves, male & female figure|
|Noah Gen 9||Ark, Rainbow, Dove with olive branch|
|Abraham Gen 18||Star, grains of sand|
|Sarah Gen 18:9-14||Tent, pregnant woman|
|Isaac 22:13-14||Woodpile, fire, ram|
|Rebekah Gen 28:10-17||Camel, water jug|
|Jacob Gen 29:10-17||Ladder|
|Rachel Gen 29:9-12||Shepherd’s crook|
|Joseph Gen 37:3||Colourful coat|
|Moses Ex 3:1-6||10 Commandments, burning bush|
|Miriam Ex 15:20-21||Music notes, tambourine|
|Deborah Jud 4:4-5||Palm tree|
|Samuel 1 Sam 3:1-3||Lamp|
|Ruth Ruth 2:1-9||Bundled straw, ear of wheat|
|Jesse Is 11:1||Root, branch|
|David 1 Sam 16:17-18||Slingshot, harp, crown|
|Solomon 1 King 5:2-5||Scales, temple columns|
|Isaiah Is 6:1||Throne|
|Daniel Dan 6:16-24||Lion|
|Jonah Jon 1,2||Big fish|
|Elizabeth Lk 1:39-45||Dove|
|John the Baptist Mt 3:1-6||River, water, camel hair tunic|
|Joseph Mt 1:18-25||Hammer, angel|
|Mary (Miriam)Lk 1:26-35||Heart, lily, angel|
|Jesus (Yeshua)Lk2:1-7||Manger, Chi-Rho, star of Bethlehem|