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Blending the Jesse Tree and Advent Wreath

The Jesse Tree and Advent wreath are two very common items Christians have used to mark four week period before Christmas called Advent or the six period that was known as Celtic Advent. In the modern time Advent has become a great way to stay focused on Christ and helping families overcome the commercial hurdles that Christmas represent.

The Jesse Tree is an older customer that was the precursor to the Christmas tree. It includes the creating of ornaments that represent events in the salvation story and within Jesus’ family Tree. The focus of the Jesse tree is based in the Old Testament and process though Genesis and ends with the Gospel of John, on the Birth of Christ (John 1:1-18) on Christmas day.

The Celebration of Advent uses the Advent wreath and the family lights the candles each night at their table. They light one Advent candle the first week, two advent candles the second weeks, three the third week and of course all four advent candles get lit for the last week.  There are prayers that can be used but also the stories that go with the Jesse Tree are also great readings to be read as the candles are lit and to be discussed as each family has dinner.

The first day of course states with the lesser known story of the Jesse Tree and how the Jesse Tree was inspired by 1 Sam 16: 1-13. If you are using a Jesse tree in addition to your advent wreath, that symbol would be a Tree. The use of a tree, although arising though pagan tradition is rooted within the Old Testament is the first passage that serves as a reminder. This is a great jump off point for parents to have a discussion of why there is Christmas tree and how a Jesse Tree is a similar thought.

Additionally in our modern day we often use the Christmas tree to tell a story of our own families, just as Jesse Tree recalls the history of Jesus’ family. The focus on the family of Jesse was foretold in the Old Testament. Jesus and David came from the same family and Jesse is the father of David. It was also foretold that David and Messiah, Jesus, would come from the same family. David was the last king of Israel prior to the coming of the Messiah. Other popular stories included for the first week of advent is Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, Isaac, Jacob. The second week moves into Gods promises and the character of Joseph, Moses, Israelites, The 10 Commandments, Joshua Gideon, and Samuel.  The third week which is the week of Joy as we anticipate Christ’s coming, features David, Elijah, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Nehemiah. The last week is the focused on the New Testament characters with Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Joseph, the Magi and Jesus.

All these figures lead us though our salvation history and a great way for families to reflect on these events each year. The Jesse Tree and Advent Wreath have prefect relationship help us stay rooted in the real meaning of Christmas


This article was published on Wednesday 27 August, 2008.

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