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Advent begins on the Sunday four weeks before Christmas Day. The word "Advent" means "coming." It refers to the coming of Jesus, the promised Messiah. The use of a Jesse Tree during the Advent season is a great way to "show and tell" the redemption story and the "coming" of the promised Savior!
Jesse Trees date back to the middle ages. Some ancient cathedrals even have Jesse Tree designs in their stained glass windows. The idea for a Jesse Tree is inspired from Isaiah 11:1, A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit. (Jesse was the father of King David.) In Matthew chapter one, the Messiah, Jesus, is traced from the line of King David, back to Abraham. Jesse Tree ornaments depict the Messianic line of Jesus from the Old and New Testaments and tell the redemption story.
To make a Jesse Tree, choose an interesting tree branch from which to hang your ornaments, and then anchor it in a bucket of sand; sew fabric ornaments onto a tree-shaped
banner or hang the ornaments onto a traditional Christmas tree. (Unlike a Chrismon Tree ornament, you can decorate Jesse Tree ornaments using various colors and adornments.)
For Sunday School
Each week during Advent have the children make an ornament and memorize the corresponding Scripture verse. Over the course of the Advent season your Jesse Tree will come alive with their creations!
For Home Use
Set aside one or two days a week during Advent to make a new ornament for your Jesse Tree. You might even decorate a smaller tree for your dining room table. Make sure to also check out the instructions for creating an Advent Wreath, which includes a devotional section for your Advent preparation.
The following patterns (see italics) are in the Chrismon-Kids book and are available in digital PDF format. Download our Chrismon-Kids ebook.
ETERNITY-Trefoil. Before anything was made, God existed as three in one.
CREATION- Star. God made the world and everything in it.
ADAM & EVE- Apple. Reminds us of the fall and our need for a Savior.
MOSES-Stone Tablets. The Ten Commandments. God's covenant with Israel.
PASSOVER-Lamb. God's faithfulness to deliver his people from bondage in Egypt. Also depicts Jesus, our Passover Lamb.
DAVID-Shepherd's Staff and/or Crown. David, the shepherd boy who became a king.
ANGEL-An Angel announces the birth of Messiah.
EPIPHANY / Natal Star -The wise men followed the star that led to the King.
BIRTH OF JESUS- Manger
JESUS' BAPTISM-A Water Jug. John The Baptist used water to baptize Jesus.
JESUS' ANOINTING-Dove. The dove descended on Jesus, marking the beginning of his earthly ministry.
JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD- Candle .
JESUS IS THE VINE-We are the branches.
JESUS- Chi-Rho Symbol- Early Christians used the first two letters of the Greek word, XPICTOC, as a secret sign meaning Christ.
LAST SUPPER- Chalice. The wine symbolizes his blood, to cleanse our sins.
CRUCIFIXION- The Cross. Jesus' death, our redemption.
HEART-The heart depicts that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
RESURRECTION- Lightning Bolt. Lightning depicts God's awesome power to raise Jesus from the dead!
PENTECOST- Tongues of Fire.
THE CHURCH- Key.
FISH- Fish for fishers of men. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.
HEAVEN-Crown. He shall reign forever and ever.
Other symbols may be added to your Jesse Tree. Use your creativity to design more ornaments that tell the story of Jesus, the branch that would bear fruit!
Find more must-have Christmas resources for children's ministry!
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