19th Day of Advent, December 20, 2018
Jesse Trees are a very old Christmas Tradition and first started in medieval times. They are used to help tell the story of the Bible from creation to the Christmas Story.
The name comes from Jesse who was the Father of the great Jewish King David. One prophecy in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah, says: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
Isaiah 11:1-4 (NIV)
A branch is a sign of new life and new beginnings. Jesus was a descendent of King David and Christians believe that Jesus is this new branch.
The first Jesse trees were large carvings, tapestries or even stained-glass windows put in Churches that helped illiterate people (people who can't read or write) to learn about the Bible from creation to the Christmas Story. But now Jesse Trees are used as a kind of Advent Calendar. You can use a normal Christmas tree or a banner in the shape of a tree. Each day through advent (or sometimes just on the four Sundays of advent) a special decoration or ornament (similar to a Chrismon), that tells a story from the Bible, is hung on the tree.
Creation/Genesis 1/The earth
Adam and Eve / Garden of Eden/Genesis 2:4 - 3:24/A tree with fruit or an apple
Noah & the Flood/Genesis 6:9 - 9:17/A rainbow
God's promise to Abraham/Genesis 12:1-7 & 15:1-6/A tent
Isaac/Genesis 22:1-18/A ram
Jacob's Ladder/Genesis 28:10-19/A ladder
Joseph's Coat/Genesis 37 & 50/A multicolored coat or robe
Moses/Exodus 2:1 - 4:20/A burning bush
Israelites and the Passover/Exodus 12:1-42/A lamb
The 10 Commandments/Exodus 19:1 - 20:20/Two stone tablets
Joshua and the fall of Jericho/Joshua 6:1-20/A ram's horn trumpet
Ruth/Ruth (Whole Book)/A sheaf of corn
King David/1 Samuel 16:1-3/A six pointed 'Star of David'
Solomon's Temple/1 Kings 6/The temple
Elijah and Baal's Priests/1 Kings 18:16-39/A bonfire
Isaiah's 'Jesse' Prophecy/Isaiah 11:1-11/A tree stump with a single branch growing from it
Jonah and the Whale/Jonah (Whole Book)/A whale
John the Baptist/Matthew 3:13-17/A scallop shell
Mary/Luke 1:26-38/A white lily
Elizabeth/Luke 1:39-56/A mother and child
Zechariah/Luke 1:57-80/A pencil and tablet
Joseph/Matthew 1:19-25/A carpenter's hammer
The Shepherds/Luke 2:8-20/A fluffy sheep
The Wisemen/Matthew 2:1-12/A gold star or 3 gifts or crowns
Jesus/Luke 2:1-8/A baby in a manger