Monday, October 31, 2011

31 days of warming up to the holidays: {day 31} the jesse tree

One of the traditions that I’m excited to start with our little family this year is that of the Jesse  Tree.  Jesse Trees were originally found in churches and depicted Jesus’ family (much like the family trees of today) in wood, stone, or stained glass.  Unfortunately, most were destroyed in the seventeenth century.  However, a new type of Jesse Tree has emerged in the form of an advent of sorts.  One story is told each day – beginning with Creation, all the way through the Old Testament, and ending with Jesus’ birth – and an ornament is placed on a tree.  The 25 ornaments each show a picture that correlates with the devotion of the day.

The book that I bought to use with our family is this one, The Jesse Tree , written by Geraldine McCaughrean, and beautifully illustrated by Bee Willey.


This book is written in a storybook form, beginning with an old carpenter carving a Jesse Tree.  A little boy begins asking him questions about it.  What follow are the stories told by the carpenter that explain the carvings on the Jesse Tree.


Here is the illustration that goes along with the story of Noah and the ark.  Isn’t it beautiful?

The ornaments we’ll be using are from Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience.  If you sign up to receive her feeds by e-mail, you’ll get a free download of the entire Jesse Tree advent booklet.  It’s a beautifully written booklet with a devotion for each day and 25 printable ornaments.

I wanted to reinforce our ornament a bit as a 3 (almost 4!!) year old would be the one handling the ornaments – and I certainly want to encourage him to look at them and touch them while we do our devotional.  I printed the ornaments out on cardstock and backed them with fabric.  To make them even more kid-friendly, I added a layer of vinyl on top.


Look for a tutorial later this week for making your own kid-friendly ornaments!

I’m so glad that you’ve come along on this 31 day journey with me and I hope that you’ll start the Jesse Tree tradition in your home…what a fantastic way to prepare your hearts for Christmas!


Is this your first time reading my 31 days series?  If you’d like to find the rest of the posts, click here to go to the welcome page complete with links for the other 30 days!


  1. We've really enjoyed doing a Jesse Tree over the past several years. But I've never seen that book! It looks fantastic! I'l have to check it out for sure.

  2. My Bible study group got together last year to make the ornaments for the Jesse Tree. It has become one of our favorite Christmas traditions. We used the book The Advent Jesse Tree by Dean Lambert Smith. Just found your blog today and I love it.


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