What is a Jesse Tree?

A Jesse Tree is a bit like an Advent calendar, except every day in Advent we hear a Bible story about someone in Jesus’ family tree, and allow the story to help us prepare spiritually as we move towards Christmas.

It’s called a Jesse Tree, because Jesus is a descendant of King David, son of Jesse. The prophet Isaiah said,

A shoot will grow from the stock of Jesse.

Isaiah 11: 1

Through our Baptism, we are part of Jesus’s family, so this is our family tree too!

People have been using Jesse Trees to learn about Jesus’s family tree for hundreds of years, especially before most people could read or write. The oldest Jesse Tree drawings that we know about are nearly a thousand years old!

Historically, each story has a symbol to go with it to help people focus while they listen to the stories. Each day they then hang these symbols on a tree – their Jesse Tree. The tree progressively being decorated throughout Advent mirrors the meaning behind the collection of stories told: that God was preparing the world to meet Jesus for a long, long time!

What will our Jesse Tree resource be like?

We are creating a virtual Jesse Tree! It will be a single website you can visit each day throughout Advent to hear a story and reveal a new symbol that will decorate the digital Jesse Tree.

Our resource is called The Jesse Tree: From Creation to Christmas. We will start with creation, and meet people like Abraham, Moses, King David, Rahab, Ruth and Mary. We will also learn about things people said about Jesus long before He was born. Then we will finish, on Christmas Day, with Jesus Himself!

We’re delighted to have worked with pupils from St Joseph’s in Coventry and St Dominic’s in Hackney to give voice to some of these stories, and Emma at Tanglewood Atelier to design the symbols that will be an integral part of this digital resource.

Who is it for?

This resource will be used by primary schools who subscribe to our Collective Worship resources.  It will be their Daily Classroom Prayer for the weeks commencing 28th November, 6th December and 12th December.

However, our Jesse Tree resource also has stories to hear and symbols to reveal on the weekends and in the final week of Advent, which falls during the Christmas holidays.

For this reason, we are making the same resource available to families at home too, as part of their Advent preparations for Christmas. We hope that families will share children’s excitement in discovering daily stories about Jesus’ family tree!

How can families access the Jesse Tree resource at home?

We are creating a new Collective Worship Parent Portal. For Combined programme (Life to the Full and Collective Worship) subscribers, our existing parent portal has been expanded to include Collective Worship resources for parents. Parent login information will remain the same.

For Collective Worship subscribers, a login for parents to access the parent portal can be created by your Account Administrator here. Your parents will only be able to view Collective Worship resources.

The Collective Worship Parent Portal will go live on Wednesday 23rd November.

What dates does it cover?

Every day from Monday 28th November – Sunday 25th December.

When will it be available?

The website will go live on Wednesday 23rd November.

How should I prepare for using The Jesse Tree: From Creation to Christmas?

To prepare, the only essential things for parents and teachers to do is:

  • Bookmark the website on their chosen device
  • Set a few minutes aside each day from 28th November – 25th December (we suggest 5-10  minutes each day)
  • Begin and end the time of prayer by making the Sign of the Cross
  • Click to play!
  • Be prepared to reflect with children using the thoughts and question prompts that will appear after the story each day

In addition, schools will need to:

  • Communicate with parents about the resource (you can share this article with them!)
  • Let parents know their password to access the Collective Worship Parent Portal

There are various additional ways to help children engage with the resource, including printing our colouring sheets of the daily symbols for children to decorate and hang or stick on their own Jesse Tree. Alternatively, you might like to get the children to design their own symbols as part of their reflection on the daily stories!

As we prepare for Christmas, there are lots of things to do, whether we’re at school or at home. It’s easy to be so busy that we can almost forget what Advent is really about. Here at Ten Ten, we pray that The Jesse Tree: From Creation to Christmas can help your school or family to take a few minutes each day to remember, and to get ready to meet Jesus on Christmas Day.