Some mediums you can use:
- Construction paper
- Magazine cut-outs
- hand-painting the symbols onto glass balls...be creative!
There are two methods of using the Jesse tree and both are fine. There is the historical method and the typology method.
The Historical Jesse Tree
1. The Earth: Creation
Jesse Tree Ornament 1: Creation
"In the beginning God
created heaven, and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and
darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over
the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made."
2. Adam & Eve: Creation of Man
Jesse Tree Ornament 2: Adam and Eve
"And he said: Let
us make man to our image and likeness; and let him have dominion over
the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the
whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.
And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created
him; make and female e created them. And God blessed them, saying;
Increase and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over
the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living
creatures that move upon the earth."
3. Apple With Bite: Fall Of Man
Jesse Tree Ornament 3: The Fall of Adam and Eve
"And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to
the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof,
and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat...
And the Lord God said
to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent
deceived me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the serpent:
Because thou hast done this thing,
thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy
breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.
I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."
4. Rainbow: Noah
Jesse Tree Ornament 4: Noah
"I will set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be the
sign of a covenant between me, and between the earth.
And when I shall cover the sky with clouds, my bow shall appear in the
clouds: And I will remember my covenant with you, and with every living
that beareth flesh: and there shall no more be waters of a flood to
destroy all flesh.
And the bow shall be in the clouds, and I shall see it, and
remember the everlasting covenant, that was made between God and every
living soul of all flesh which is upon the earth. And God said to Noe:
This shall be the sign of the covenant which I have established between
me and all flesh upon the earth.
And the sons of Noe who came out of the ark, were Sem, Cham,
and Japheth: and Cham is the father of Chanaan. These three are the
sons of Noe: and from these was all mankind spread over the whole
5. Sword or Tent: Abraham
Jesse Tree Ornament 5: Abraham
Genesis 12:1-3, 16
"And the Lord said to Abram: Go forth out of thy country, and from thy
kindred, and out of thy father' s house, and come into the land which I
shall shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed.
I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and IN THEE shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed...
And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: if any man be able
to number the dust of the earth, he shall be able to number thy seed
6. Bundle of Sticks: Isaac
Jesse Tree Ornament 6: Isaac
Genesis 22:1-3, 6-13
"(God) said to him: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.
He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and
go into the land of vision: and there thou shalt offer him for an
holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee.
So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass: and took with him
two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the
holocaust he went his way to the place which God had commanded him...
And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son:
and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two
went on together, Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou,
son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the
And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim
for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together. And they came to the
place which God had shewn him, where he built an
altar, and laid the wood in order upon it: and when he had bound Isaac
his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood. And he put
forth his hand and took the sword, to sacrifice his son.
And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.
And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any
thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy
only begotten son for my sake. Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram amongst the
briers sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a
holocaust instead of his son."
7. Ladder: Jacob
Jesse Tree Ornament 7: Jacob
Genesis 28 12-15
"And he saw in his sleep a ladder standing upon the earth, and the top
thereof touching heaven: the angels also of God ascending and descending
And the Lord leaning upon the ladder, saying to him: I am the Lord God
of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land, wherein thou
sleepest, I will give to thee and to thy seed.
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth: thou shalt spread
abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south:
and IN THEE and thy seed all the tribes of the earth SHALL BE BLESSED.
And I will be thy keeper whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee
back into this land: neither will I leave thee, till I shall have
accomplished all that I have said."
8. Colorful Tunic: Joseph
Jesse Tree Ornament 8: Joseph
Genesis 37:11,18, 23-25, 28, 31, 36
"His brethren therefore envied
him...And when they saw him afar off, before he came nigh them, they
thought to kill him...
And as soon as he came to his brethren,
they forthwith stript him of his outside coat, that was of divers
colours: And cast him into an old pit, where there was no water. And
sitting down to eat bread, they saw some Ismaelites on their way
coming from Galaad, with their camels, carrying spices, and balm, and
myrrh to Egypt.
And when the Madianite merchants passed by, they drew him out of the
pit, and sold him to the Ismaelites, for twenty pieces of silver: and
they led him into Egypt...And they took his coat, and dipped it in the blood of a kid, which they had killed...
The Madianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Putiphar, an eunuch of Pharao, captain of the soldiers."
9. Baby in Basket or Ten Commandments: Moses
Jesse Tree Ornament 9: Moses
This Jesse Tree symbol has two readings one for the baby in basket: Genesis 2:2-10 or for the tablets: Genesis 20:1-17
"And she...bore a son; and seeing him a goodly child
hid him three months. And when she could hide him no longer, she took a
basket made of
bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and pitch: and put the little babe
therein, and laid him in the sedges by the river' s brink,
His sister standing afar off, and taking notice what would be done.
And behold the daughter of Pharao came down to wash herself in the
river: and her maids walked by the river' s brink. And when she saw the
basket in the sedges, she sent one of her maids for it: and when it was
She opened it and seeing within it an infant crying, having compassion on it she said: This is one of the babes of the Hebrews.
And the child' s sister said to her Shall I go and call to thee a Hebrew woman, to nurse the babe?
She answered: Go.
The maid went and called her mother. And Pharao' s daughter said to her. Take this child and nurse him for
me: I will give thee thy wages. The woman took, and nursed the child:
and when he was grown up, she delivered him to Pharao' s daughter.
And she adopted him for a son, and called him Moses, saying: Because I took him out of the water."
Alternate Ten Commandment reading:
"And the Lord spoke all these words: I am the Lord
thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of
bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make
to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing
that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things
that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor
serve them: I am the Lord thy God,
mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children,
unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me:
And shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and
keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God
in vain: for the Lord
will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God
in vain. Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt
thou labour, and shalt do all thy works. But on the seventh day is the
sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt
do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy
manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is
within thy gates.
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea,
things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the
Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. Honour thy father and
thy mother, that thou mayest be longlived upon the land which the Lord
thy God will give thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit
adultery. Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour' s house: neither shalt thou desire
his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass,
nor any thing that is his."
10. Lamp: Samuel
Jesse Tree Ornament 10: Samuel
"Before the lamp of God went out, Samuel slept in the temple
of the Lord, where the ark of God was. And the Lord called Samuel. And
he answered: Here am I...And the Lord came and stood: and he called, as
he had called the other
times: Samuel, Samuel. And Samuel said: Speak, Lord, for thy servant
And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and not one of his words fell to the ground.
And all Israel from Dan to Bersabee, knew that Samuel was a faithful prophet of the Lord."
11. Tree Stump with Flower: Jesse
Jesse Tree Ornament 11: Jesse
The scripture for this Jesse Tree ornament are taken from
1King chapter 16
"And the Lord said to Samuel: How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, whom I
have rejected from reigning over Israel? fill thy horn with oil, and
come, that I may send thee to Isai the Bethlehemite: for I have provided
me a king among his sons...and thou shalt anoint him whom I shall shew to thee.
Then Samuel did as the Lord had said to him...And he sanctified
Isai(Jesse) and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
Isai therefore brought his seven sons before Samuel: and Samuel said to Isai: The Lord hath not chosen any one of these.
And Samuel said to Isai: Are here all thy sons? He answered: There
remaineth yet a young one, who keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said to
Isai: Send, and fetch him, for we will not sit down till he come hither. He sent therefore and brought him.
Now he was ruddy and beautiful to
behold, and of a comely face. And the Lord said: Arise, and anoint him,
for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his
brethren: and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day
12. Sling Shot or Harp: David
Jesse Tree Ornament 12: David
This Jesse Tree reading is taken from 1 King chapter 17
"And as (David) talked with them, that baseborn man whose name was Goliath,
the Philistine, of Geth, shewed himself coming up from the camp of the
Philistines. And all the Israelites when they saw the man, fled from his face, fearing him exceedingly. And some one of Israel said: Have you seen this man that is come up,
for he is come up to defy Israel. And the man that shall slay him, the
king will enrich with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and
will make his father' s house free from tribute in Israel.
...And Saul said to David: Thou art not able to withstand this Philistine,
nor to fight against him: for thou art but a boy, but he is a warrior
from his youth. And David said to Saul: Thy servant kept his father's sheep...And David said: The Lord who delivered me out of the paw of the lion,
and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of
And Saul said to David: Go, and the Lord be with thee...And he took his staff, which he had always in his hands: and chose him
five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them into the shepherd' s
scrip, which he had with him, and he took a sling in his hand, and went
forth against the Philistine.
And David said to the Philistine: Thou comest to me with a sword, and
with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the
Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, which thou hast defied...And he put his hand into his scrip, and took a stone, and cast it with
the sling, and fetching it about struck the Philistine in the forehead:
and the stone was fixed in his forehead, and he fell on his face upon
And David prevailed over the Philistine, with a sling and a stone, and
he struck, and slew the Philistine. And as David had no sword in his
hand. He ran, and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it
out of the sheath, and slew him, and cut off his head. And the
Philistines seeing that their champion was dead, fled away."
13. Scales of Justice or Temple: Solomon
Jesse Tree Ornament 13: Solomon
"And the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, saying: Ask what thou wilt that I should give thee.
Give therefore to thy servant an understanding heart, to judge thy
people, and discern between good and evil. For who shall be able to
judge this people, thy people which is so numerous? And the word was pleasing to the Lord that Solomon had asked such a thing.
And the Lord said to Solomon: Because thou hast asked this thing, and
hast not asked for thyself long life or riches, nor the lives of thy
enemies, but hast asked for thyself wisdom to discern judgment,
Behold I have done for thee according to thy words, and have given thee
a wise and understanding heart, insomuch that there hath been no one
like thee before thee, nor shall arise after thee.
Yea and the things also which thou didst not ask, I have given thee: to
wit riches and glory, as that no one hath been like thee among the
kings in all days heretofore. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, and keep my precepts, and my commandments, as thy father walked, I will lengthen thy days."
14. Flowering Staff or Hammer: St. Joseph
Jesse Tree Ornament 14: Joseph
"Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary
was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with
child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.
But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord
appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to
take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of
the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying:
Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they
shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife. And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."
15. Immaculate Heart: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Jesse Tree Ornament 15: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:26-38
"And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and
the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he
shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon
thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And
therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the
Son of God.
And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her
old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."
16. Shell with Water: St. John the Baptist
Jesse Tree Ornament 16: John
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaias the prophet: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare the way before thee. A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.
John was in the desert baptizing, and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all they of
Jerusalem, and were baptized by him in the river of Jordan, confessing
And John was clothed with camel' s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying: There cometh after me one mightier than I, the
latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I have baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost."
Putting Your Jesse Tree Together
The ornaments can be made each day and hung one or two at a
time as a countdown to Christmas or ones created in the past or
purchased can be opened each day and placed on the tree. Consider setting up your Christmas tree and hanging Jesse tree ornaments on it during the first week of Advent as well. Then
change out the ornaments on Christmas Eve.
We hope you enjoy observing Advent with the Jesse tree as much as we do.
Tell us about your traditions and share your pictures. Let us know if you would like to hear about the typology Jesse tree in the future.