Have you ever heard of a Jesse Tree? Until last year, I never knew the significance of the tree or the ornaments/images on the tree. In anticipation of Christmas, the Jesse Tree tells the story of Jesus' family tree. Starting with the story of Creation and ending with Himself, the Jesse tree chronicles stories from the Old and New Testament, weaving together all of salvation history into a beautiful visual aid to help your family prepare for the birth of the Christ Child.
The story of Creation, Adam and Eve, and other Old Testament figures are aptly placed on the bottom (the "roots") of the tree. As you place each ornament on the tree, read the Scripture passages about each story or person and reflect on their importance in salvation history.
One of our local Catholic bookstores sold this simple wooden Jesse Tree:
To make it a little more seasonal, Philip spray painted the honeycomb balls and base gold and the "branches" evergreen.
We found beautiful Jesse Tree ornament images on the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania webpage. Click here to download the PDF files of the ornaments. (Illustrations found on the ornaments are by Carolyn Pikoulas.) In addition to the beautiful ornaments, the Erie page provides a link to beautiful reflections and Scripture passages from Faith magazine by Anne-Marie Welsh to go along with each ornament.
I printed off the ornaments on white card stock, cut them out, cut holes with my hole punch, and strung metallic cord through them to hang on the tree. I found the metallic cord at a local craft store for $2 for several feet.
The Jesse Tree is a fun addition to our already existing Advent traditions. As the matriarch of our little family, I am trying to slowly add to the things we do each year during Advent. I keep reminding myself that there is no need to try to do it all anyway! We have yet to read through the Scripture passages and reflections accompanying the ornaments as a family. In full disclosure, I hung up the ornaments from the dove through the lamb all at once tonight because Philip finished assembling the tree last night.
We placed the Jesse Tree on our mantle in the family room so that little hands aren't tempted to remove the ornaments. It's a beautiful reminder of the "reason for the season" as well as all of the events that led up to the birth of the Christ Child.
As an added bonus, if you reflect long and hard on the wild and crazy stories in Jesus' family tree, you might find reassurance and comfort that your own family tree looks pretty darn good by comparison!
I hope you are having a blessed start to your Advent!