The Jesse Tree

"But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom." (Isaiah 11:1-2)

The Jesse tree gets its name from Jesse, the father of King David. It is a devotional used during Advent that takes us on journey through the Bible leading up to the birth of Christ. 

Each day during Advent, an ornament representing a person or event from the Old Testament is hung on the tree, and the related Scripture passage is read and shared. All the Scripture readings used tell of God's preparation for the coming of Jesus. Although the Jesse tree is a wonderful way to guide children through the season, it is powerful for both young and old to contemplate the profound and amazing historical events that led to the birth of Christ. Taken individually as unique and separate stories, each symbolized upon the Jesse tree, we are reminded of how God has worked in the world in mysterious and beautiful ways to guide and protect his Church, as he still does today.

How do I make a Jesse tree?

Any small tree or even a branch or a banner can be used for a Jesse tree. It just needs to be able to hold cardboard or paper ornaments for all the days of Advent. In 2023, Advent has 22 days, so you'll be placing your 23rd ornament on the tree on Christmas Day. 

How do I identify the Scripture readings and get the ornaments?

There are many Jesse tree resources online but you can find a printable sheet of ornaments with suggested Scripture readings here.  Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston has also put together day-by-day reflections that you can use. Each contains the Scripture passage, a reflection by Father Daniel Greenleaf, the pastor, an ornament to cut out, and suggested discussion topics for families.

Additional Resources

Diocese of Erie Jesse Tree 

Dynamic Catholic Jesse Tree

Loyola Press Jesse Tree