The Jesse Tree is a wonderful Advent tradition that retells the story of salvation history through symbols. It’s a recap of a few major Bible milestones leading up to the birth of Jesus. You know – like a “Previously, on….” at the beginning of your favorite tv series. It helps us remember how God has rolled out His plan across the ages. It leads us right up to that most magnificent of events – the Incarnation, when God became man and entered into the course of human history.
Why is it called a “Jesse Tree”?
In Isaiah 11, we hear of the promise of the King-to-Come; the ideal leader who will set his people free; the Messiah.
- Isaiah 11:1 – “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.”
- Isaiah 11:10 – “On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the peoples – Him the nations shall seek out; His dwelling shall be glorious.”
- In between the two verses is the beautiful portrayal of the peaceable kingdom of the reign of this king.
Jesse was the father of David. David united Israel into one kingdom, and as he was “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22), was considered the most ideal king. David’s line became quite broken over time. But the promise was that this king-to-come would restore – and heal – that line. The line that comes through David, son of Jesse!
So we call it a Jesse Tree, as this tree shows the genealogy (spiritual and literal) of Jesus!