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Begin a Jesse Tree Tradition

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It is evening during the season of Advent.

Our family gathers in the family room and plugs in a small, lighted tree.  Hot drinks and yummy snacks serve to make this purposeful Advent tradition even more special.  Someone reads the designated scripture passage and we discuss its meaning.  After a brief discussion, an ornament is hung on our Jesse Tree as a reminder of the scripture passage we read that evening.

Learn the various ornaments we have used to represent the stories told through our Jesse Tree.

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Of course, let’s be real, some nights aren’t quite as peaceful as my opening description.  Truthfully, most nights aren’t.

And last year we skipped this tradition.  And a few years ago, this tired momma never finished the full set of devotions.

But in spite of the reality of it all, this is a tradition we return to, even imperfectly, because it keeps us focused on Jesus through the season of Advent.

What is a Jesse Tree?  The name, Jesse Tree, comes from Isaiah 11:1, “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”  The Jesse tree is the family tree of Jesus, beginning with Creation and ending at Christmas.  The stories are celebrated during the Advent season with scripture, a devotion, and an ornament reminder to hang on the tree.

There are all sorts of resources to use for the Jesse Tree.  Ann Voskamp published a family devotional book and an adult devotional book.  I printed these devotionals many years ago.  I cut them out and glued them to notecards to hang on a ring.
Our Jesse Tree Devotional cards.
The same website provides ideas for creating ornaments to coordinate with each devotion.

Our family used some of the ideas on the website, bought a few creative ornaments, and even printed the images from the devotions to color and glue on cardstock when we had no other ideas.

After printing the notecards, I put the entire ring in my purse and hit some stores.  I searched high and low for some creative ornaments in addition to our handmade ones.

Jesse Tree Ornaments

Our ornaments are definitely memorable reminders of the story of Jesus and his lineage.

Jesse Tree Ornaments

Day 2 – God created the world and everything in it.  We printed the image from the devotion card, colored it, and then adhered it to cardstock.

Day 3 – Adam and Eve eat the apple.  The apple was a pre-painted wood piece at Michael’s.

Day 4 – Noah’s rainbow was created with pipe cleaners by one of my daughters.

Day 6 – Abraham and Sarah have a baby.  They were OLD.  This ornament is a cane, not a candy cane, but a cane for old people.  (at least that is how we tell it)

Day 7 – God provided a ram for the sacrifice but this sparkly deer will have to do for us.

Examples of our Jesse Tree ornaments.

Day 8 – Jacob’s ladder was created with pipe cleaners by myself and my girls.

Day 9 – One of the girls painted Joseph’s coat of many colors.

Day 13 – We declared this ornament (whatever it is) to be a bottle of oil for the anointing of King David when he was a boy.

Day 14– The crown of King David.

Day 15 – The prophets revealed the “keys” to the future and reminded people to worship God.

Examples of our Jesse Tree ornaments.

Day 16 – (I LOVED this random find)  This fire reminds us of Elijah calling down the fire from heaven.  I couldn’t resist the “call of the wild” since Elijah was described in the bible as being very wild in appearance.

Day 17 – A clay whale was purchased at Michael’s and a daughter painted it.

Day 18 – This is another randomly great find to represent Jesus restoring the peace on earth, even amongst the animals.

Day 22 – Zechariah and Elizabeth get the news, “It’s a Boy!”

Without a doubt, the Jesse Tree has been a simple and special tradition in our family.   We have used the devotion cards and have changed things up by reading, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.

One of our meaningful tradtions during the Christmas season is our Jesse Tree. Click to learn more.

Does your family celebrate the season with a Jesse Tree or something similar?


We particularly enjoyed Jotham’s Journey.  The characters from the other books in the series intersect with one another.  You can read one of the books each year.

This post is Day Four of the series “Five Days of Meaningful Christmas Traditions“.

Don’t miss out on Day Five:


Learn about our Weekly Advent Dinners as part of our meaningful christmas tradtions.We give our children four christmas gifts: want, need, wear, read. Click and discover some ideas for each category.Discover 5 days of the meaningful christmas tradtions that our family has participated in over the years.


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