The Jesse Tree + Advent + Guest Post

First things first, I’m dishing on my family office over at House of Turquoise today!!  Come by and say hi!!  It’s one of my favorite reads ever!!


Now, Advent begins in a week, and we will once again mark the time to Christmas with our Jesse Tree tradition.  Jesse was the father of the King David of the Old Testament, and is often looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus.  Hence, the Jesse Tree represents the family tree of Jesus. It tells the story of God’s salvation, beginning with creation and continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”

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For some years now, each night after dinner during Advent we read the daily scripture, talk about what it means and hang the day’s ornament on our Jesse Tree.  We will add the ornaments to the tree in our family office this year.

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I made our ornaments for just a few dollars out of white felt, glitter paint and cording when we first started the tradition.  You can make your own, or simply google and print off ornaments based on the guide below.  Here is a list of the scriptures we use:


December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman
December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite
December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain
December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder
December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes
December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple
December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd’s staff
December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star
December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle
December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart
December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river
On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the “O” Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the “O” Antiphons.
December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols:oil lamp, open book
December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets
December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower
December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains
December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18)Symbols: sun rising or high in sky
December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter
December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host
December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun
In addition to our Jesse Tree, for years I have also filled our “fun” Advent calendar with daily holiday treats – not candy, but little experiences and things that we do together.  It has moved to the boys’ room this year since it’s the first thing they always check when they wake up in December.

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Here is the list I’ve drafted for this year… some are things we already have on our calendar.

5th Annual Scout’s Snowflake Breakfast
Polar Express Night
Visit Santa
School holiday parties
Christmas Truth or Dare game
Make gingerbread houses
Hot chocolate bar on the porch
Shop for and donate a toy
Game night
Make a Christmas ornament for our tree
New Christmas books – one for us and one to donate
Whit’s birthday
S’mores on the porch
Random Act of Kindness Day
Snowman lunch
Birthday party
Contribute to the pantry at church
Bake Christmas cookies
Be a secret santa
Ride the Pink Pig
Movie + popcorn night
Make reindeer food
Gingerbread house tour
Put on Christmas music and wrap gifts

This is the sweetest time of the year!!!


13 thoughts on “The Jesse Tree + Advent + Guest Post

  1. I was so excited to see your list of experiences instead of candy and treats for the Advent Calendar ..and I scrolled and scrolled until I came upon my favorite….Ride the Pink Pig…that was our very favorite treat when we lived in Atlanta…and my oldest is now 25! I have pics of her on it at the downtown Rich's with her sticker….such a great memory! Love your blog and all the exciting things you share.

  2. What a great tradition. I will have to look into making those ornaments. Love you office tree!! I just used the pink and white striped ribbon for #1's tree topper.

  3. Oh, Amanda! Your tree is even MORE special, with your beautiful messages that you will add to it.
    You are something else! I am so inspired by you. I have my decorations up early, thanks to you, and
    will be sipping William Sonoma's cocoa and vanilla marshmallows as I watch Polar Express on December 3rd. Every year I miss it but not this year! Bring it on! Love, Jane ~ San Diego

  4. Our youngest is in college, but if I was still a young mom I would copy most all of your ideas!! We actually did do the advent calendars back when! Cathy

  5. P.S. I will be following these each day and greatly appreciate you posting them. (Insert heart here.). Thank you, Amanda.
    Jane ~ San Diego

  6. Love the Jesse Tree. I have seen this before and always thought how neat it would be but after seeing your post I have decided I def need a Jesse Tree and I know my kids will love it

  7. What a great post to kick off the Christmas season, and thank you for the Advent calendar ideas. We love the Pink Pig! You did a great job on your Jesse tree ornaments & your Lilly tree is fantastic!

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