An excellent Christian educational resource to celebrate the Advent and Christmas season with your children is the Jesse Tree tradition. A Jesse Tree recreates the genealogy of Jesus as presented in the Catholic Bible beginning with the first of Jesus' ancestors, Adam and Eve, up to Mary and Joseph, Jesus' mother and adoptive father. The Jesse Tree is Jesus' family tree, and it can be made using a real tree, or real tree branches, or even a cut out paper tree or poster can be used.
Each ancestor of Jesus represented on the Jesse Tree plays an important role in Salvation History and is depicted with a symbol that recalls a famous Biblical event in the life of that Bible character. For example, Moses is represented as an ornament with an ark on it that recalls the Old Testament story of Noah's ark and the Great Flood—a very important event in God's redemption of the human race. The ornament then hangs on the Jesse Tree along with the other ancestors of Jesus. This is a great way for kids to learn their Bible stories and to help them understand how important every individual is in God's redemption story.
The Jesse Tree gets its name from the famous Bible passage that foretells the birth of Jesus:
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11: 1-2).
Jesse Trees kits are an engaging activity for kids that can be done all at once, or spread out over each day of the Advent season as a kind of Advent Calendar to count down to Christmas. On each day of the Advent season kids can learn a different Bible story involving the ancestors of Jesus, and it's an excellent way to keep them focused on Christ and the joyful anticipation of the Advent season. Jesse Tree kits are an excellent tool for parents and faith formation classes to teach children about the Bible and their Christian faith.
Does your family have a special Jesse Tree tradition?