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!
[button url=”http://cathfamily.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/cf_activities_jessetree.pdf” style=”purple”]Download Template Here[/button]
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 ‘sesaon’ 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 FatherGen 1||Sun, Earth|
|Adam & EveGen 2,3||Fruit, fig leaves, male & female figure|
|NoahGen 9||Ark, Rainbow, Dove with olive branch|
|AbrahamGen 18||Star, grains of sand|
|SarahGen 18:9-14||Tent, pregnant woman|
|Isaac22:13-14||Woodpile, fire, ram|
|RebekahGen 28:10-17||Camel, water jug|
|RachelGen 29:9-12||Shepherd’s crook|
|JosephGen 37:3||Colourful coat|
|MosesEx 3:1-6||10 Commandments, burning bush|
|MiriamEx 15:20-21||Music notes, tambourine|
|DeborahJud 4:4-5||Palm tree|
|Samuel1 Sam 3:1-3||Lamp|
|RuthRuth 2:1-9||Bundled straw, ear of wheat|
|JesseIs 11:1||Root, branch|
|David1 Sam 16:17-18||Sling shot, harp, crown|
|Solomon1 King 5:2-5||Scales, temple columns|
|JonahJon 1,2||Big fish|
|John the BaptistMt 3:1-6||River, water, camel hair tunic|
|JosephMt 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|