The Tradition of the Jesse Tree

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:

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 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–
3 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;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.            
Isaiah 11:1-4

A branch is a sign of new life and new beginnings. Jesus was a descendant 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 to learn about the Bible from creation to the Christmas Story. But now Jesse Trees are used as a kind of Advent Calendar.





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


Genesis 22:1-18

A ram

Jacob’s Ladder

Genesis 28:10-19

A ladder

Joseph’s Coat

Genesis 37 & 50

A multi-coloured coat or robe


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 (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


Luke 1:26-38

A white lily


Luke 1:39-56

A mother and child


Luke 1:57-80

A pencil and tablet


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 the three gifts or three crowns


Luke 2:1-8

A baby in a manger