The Jesse Tree has it origin in scripture: There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots... And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious." (Isaiah 11:1-10) Jesus is a descendant of King David whose father was Jesse. (Luke 3:23-38)
The Jesse Tree uses 28 symbols taken from scripture to make a tree. These symbols from the website, http://www.domestic-church.com/ (Follow Jesse Tree link), can be printed and colored. After drawing a circle around each of the symbols, they can be cut out and pasted on construction paper or hung from the branches of a small tree. One symbol can be added each day of Advent and explained to the family. Or the entire tree may be assembled with the explanation below it and displayed in a prominent place in the home.
A brief description of each symbol follows:
1. Creation (the world): Genesis 3:1-7 God created everything from nothing.
2. Adam and Eve (the apple): Genesis 6:11-22; 9:8-13 They disobeyed God by eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.
3. Noah (the ark): Genesis 6:11-22; 9:8-13 Mankind turned away from God. Noah, his family, and animals from earth are saved from a terrible flood.
4. Abraham and Sarah (the tent): Genesis 12:1-7 Abraham believes in God and follows His command to leave his home to go to a promised land.
5. Isaac and Rebecca (the ram): Genesis 22:1-7 Abraham will sacrifice his only son, Isaac, to obey God’s command but God stops the sacrifice.
6. Jacob and Rachel (the ladder): Genesis 10-22 Jacob has a dream in which he sees a ladder going to heaven. God tells him he will be the father of a great people. With Rachel, his wife, he becomes the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
7. Joseph (the coat): Genesis 37:1-4 Joseph’s brothers become jealous of him when his father, Jacob, gives him a colorful coat. They sell him into slavery in Egypt.
8. Moses (the tablets): Exodus 20:1-17 Moses saves the tribes of Jacob (Israelites) from slavery in Egypt. God gives him the Ten Commandments written on tablets.
9. Aaron (the rod and the serpents) Exodus 5:22, 11:5 Aaron, the brother of Moses, asks that the Israelites be freed from slavery and shows Pharaoh the power of God by turning his rod into a serpent.
10. Joshua (the horn): Joshua 6:20 Joshua conquers the city of Jericho by destroying its walls when the priests blow horns and trumpets and march around the city seven times until the walls fall down.
11. Samson (the tumbling pillars) Judges 16:21-30 To free the Israelites from the Philistines, God gives Samson the strength to knock down the pillars which support the roof of a pagan temple.
12. Ruth (the grain) Ruth 1:15-18 Ruth, a foreigner, marries an Israelite farmer. She becomes the mother of Obed (father of Jesse, grandfather of King David).
13. Jesse (the stump with a shoot) Isaiah 11:1-2 The prophet Isaiah foretells that the Messiah will spring forth from the stump of Jesse. Jesus becomes known as the Son of David as well as the Son of God.
14. David (the star) Samuel 5:1-5 The star of David is the symbol of the nation Israel. David was its greatest King. He slew the giant Goliath and returned in faithfulness to God even after he sinned.
15. Solomon (the temple) 1 Kings 3:3-14 God gave Solomon great wisdom because he preferred it over wealth. He built the majestic Temple in Jerusalem.
16. Elijah (the chariot of fire) 2 Kings 2:11-18 After Elijah worked hard to convince many Israelites to abandon false idols, he was taken in a chariot of fire into heaven.
17. Isaiah (anvil and sword) Isaiah 2:4; 7:14; 9:6-7 He predicted a great time of peace when swords would be beat into plowshares, and when Emmanuel (God is with us) would be born. This would be Jesus, the messiah.
18. Daniel (the lion) Daniel 6:10-23 When King Nebuchadnezzar sends Daniel to the lions’ den to be eaten, he is spared by God
19. Jonah (the whale) Jonah 1-4 When Jonah refuses to go to Nineveh to convert its people, he is swallowed by a whale for three days then delivered to its shores.
20. Zechariah and Elizabeth (praying hands) Luke 1:5-23 These parents of John the Baptist prayed for this special son who prepared the way for Jesus.
21. John the Baptist (the shell) Matthew 3:1-11 He convinced many to repent of their sins, baptizing them (using a shell), to prepare for the coming of Jesus.
22. Anne and Joachim (the book) According to tradition these parents of Mary taught her to have great faith, preparing her to be the mother of Jesus.
23. Mary (the heart) Luke 1:26-38 The symbol of a loving heart represents the Blessed Virgin Mary’s great love.
24. Joseph of Nazareth (carpenter tools) Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph, the carpenter, a descendent of the house of David, becomes the spouse of Mary and the foster father of Jesus.
25. Star of Bethlehem (the star) Matthew 2:1-12 Matthew tells how the star that led the Magi to Jesus was predicted in the Book of Numbers and the place he was born was predicted by the prophet Micah.
26. Shepherds (sheep and crook) Luke 2:8-20 The shepherds were the first to welcome Jesus.
27. Angel (the angel) Luke 2:8-14 the angel announced: “I bring you good news of great joy for all the people, for unto you is born in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
28. Jesus (the baby in the manger) Luke 2:1-20 And so it was the Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem, the son of Mary and Joseph of Nazareth. He was the Messiah whose coming had been predicted by the prophets and long awaited by the people of Israel.