Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Celebrate Advent With a Jesse Tree Teach Your Kids About the Bible With a Jesse Tree Advent Project Share Flipboard Email Print Liam Norris / Getty Images Christianity Christian Holidays Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Catholicism Latter Day Saints View More By Mary Fairchild Christianity Expert General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center Mary Fairchild is a full-time Christian minister, writer, and editor of two Christian anthologies, including "Stories of Cavalry." our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Mary Fairchild Updated September 07, 2020 The Jesse Tree is a unique Advent custom and a fun activity for teaching children about the Bible at Christmas. The tradition traces back as far as the middle ages. The earliest Jesse Trees were made of tapestries, carvings, and stained glass. These visual displays allowed uneducated people who could not read or write to learn about the Scriptures from the time of Creation until the birth of Jesus. What Is a Jesse Tree? The word advent means "arrival." Because Advent is a time to anticipate and prepare for the arrival of Christ at Christmas, a Jesse Tree project is a great way to celebrate with your family. The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy, of Jesus Christ. It tells the story of God's salvation plan, beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. 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." (NASB) The verse refers to King David's father, Jesse, who is in the lineage of Jesus Christ. The "shoot" that grew from the "stem of Jesse," that is, the royal line of David, is Jesus Christ. How to Celebrate Advent With a Jesse Tree Each day of Advent a homemade ornament is added to the Jesse Tree, a small tree made of evergreen branches or any creative materials you choose to use. First, you and your children will need to decide exactly how you will create your Jesse Tree and ornaments. With a bit of creativity, the possibilities are limitless. Try to choose materials and activities that fit your kids' ages and abilities so that everyone can participate in the project. For instance, you might wish to use paper and crayon to draw ornaments, cardboard and markers, card stock and paint, or felt, yarn, and glue. You can make the tree as simple or as elaborate as you choose. Next, you'll need to decide what the symbolic ornaments will represent. Some families choose to represent different prophecies foretelling the coming of the Messiah. Another variation includes ornaments that represent the ancestors in the lineage of Christ or the various monogram symbols of Christianity. One popular variation for the handmade ornaments is to trace the many promises of God through the stories in the Bible, beginning with Creation and leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior. For example, an apple might represent the story of Adam and Eve. A rainbow could symbolize the story of Noah's ark and the flood. A burning bush to tell the story of Moses. The Ten Commandments could be illustrated with two tablets of stone. A large fish or whale would represent Jonah and the whale. As you make the ornaments together, remember to discuss what they mean so your children will enjoy crafting as they learn about the Bible. Each day of Advent, when you decorate your tree by adding an ornament, take some time to reinforce the symbolism behind the ornament. You can read a Bible verse or expound on a related Bible story. You might want to incorporate a lesson on the meaning of the Advent candle colors. Think of ways to tie in your lessons to the lineage of Jesus and the season of Advent. You may want to use this Story of the Jesse Tree and sample readings from Christian Research Institute. Family Advent Tradition Perhaps you're not the creative type. You can still teach your kids about the Bible and enjoy the benefits of a family Jesse Tree project. A simple online search will lead to various vendors with arts and crafts and even devotionals designed precisely for celebrating Advent as a family.