Advent Jesse Tree Ornament Swap

I was over at Tiffany’s place last Friday for her Quick Takes and she mentioned a Jesse Tree Advent

The Tree of Jesse, representing the ancestry o...
The Tree of Jesse, representing the ancestry of Jesus Christ. Ivory panel from Bamberg (?), Bavaria, ca. 1200. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Swap that she was participating in. The way it works is after 32 people sign up, they will each be assigned an ornament to create (craft) and have to make 32 copies of that same ornament. When all is said and done, each participant will receive 32 hand crafted ornaments for their Jesse Tree. At first I was adamant that I couldn’t possibly be able to create anything worth hanging up, unless it was a stick figure on some computer paper with a smiley face. After giving it some more thought, I imagined people that I didn’t know, creating something with love that will (hopefully) be in my family for years to come. I can’t pass up on that. Besides, Tiffany made a great point: once you’ve made a few, you’ll have a system down and the rest will be easy peasy! So, I’m in. Will you join us?!

What is an Advent Jesse Tree? According to Michelle over at Liturgical Time: walking the Seasons:

A Jesse tree is a tree used during Advent.  Ornaments that represent Jesus’ ancestors and tell the story leading up to his birth are placed on the tree.  About one ornament per day is placed on the tree, along with a Bible reading related to the ornament.  (Or, if you’re like us, you get overwhelmed with life, miss days, and then hurry to catch up with intermittent 3-4 ornament blasts!)

Head on over to Liturgical Time: Walking the Seasons to find out more and sign up! Here’s a picture of what she’s created in the past…beautiful! I love the knitted one.

Want more info on the story of the Jesse Tree? shares this in their overview and activity page devoted to the Advent Jesse Tree:

Jesse was the father of the great King David of the Old Testament. He is often looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus.

In Church art a design developed showing the relationship of Jesus with Jesse and other biblical personages. This design showed a branched tree growing from a reclining figure of Jesse. The various branches had pictures of other Old and New Testament figures who were ancestors of Jesus. At the top of the tree were figures of Mary and Jesus. This design was used mostly in stained glass windows in some of the great medieval cathedrals of Europe. The Cathedral of Chartres (which was dedicated in 1260) has a particularly beautiful Jesse Tree window.

Another development in religious art during the Middle Ages was that of Mystery Plays–drama that depicted various Bible stories or lives of Saints and Martyrs. These plays were performed in churches as part of the liturgical celebrations. One such play was based on the Bible account of the fall of Adam and Eve. The “Tree of Life” used during the play was decorated with apples. (Quite possibly this is also the forerunner of our own Christmas tree.)

Combining the two ideas of the stained glass Jesse Tree window and the Tree of Life from the Mystery Play we come up with our Jesse Tree Advent project. This custom has been used for years to help Christians to prepare for Christmas.


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