Have you ever seen a Jesse Tree? It’s an ancient Advent tradition consisting of a carving, painting, or stained-glass window—even an actual tree—that portrays the people, prophecies, and events leading up to the birth of the Messiah.
Jesse was the father of King David and an ancestor of Jesus, so the branches of the Jesse Tree are meant to display Jesus’ rich and varied heritage. The Tree reminds us how faithful God was during the “long Advent” when his people waited for the Messiah. Each person and event represented on the tree depicts part of God’s plan to save his people.
Even if you don’t decorate a Jesse Tree in your home, the ideas behind it can help you prepare for Christmas. During Advent, it’s traditional to review stories from the Old Testament that promise the coming of the Messiah. Stories of these ancestors of Jesus illustrate God’s commitment to his plan to save us.
It’s a commitment that stretched from the very beginning, through thousands of years, right up to Christmas Day. It’s a commitment too that reaches even to the present.
Jesus’ birth has brought about something new and wonderful, and the Jesse Tree illustrates it: a salvation that is far more widereaching than we ever could have imagined.