What is a Jesse Tree?

A Jesse Tree is an Advent tradition that helps us anticipate the coming of Christ through Salvation History. In Medieval Europe, churches often had stained glass “Jesse Tree” windows depicting the genealogy of Jesus from Jesse. In more modern times, Jesse Trees usually start with creation. They consist of a simple tree or branches on which to hang an ornaments for each day in Advent. Each ornament depicts a person, story, or prophecy from the Old Testament that leads us to the birth of our long-awaited Messiah.

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
— Isaiah 11:1

How Does the Ornament Exchange Work?

This year, Advent has 23 days so Jesse Trees will need 23 different ornaments to have a complete set. Instead of each participant making 23 different ornaments, they will make 23 of the same ornament to bring to the ornament exchange. For example, if you were assigned “Day 7 - Jacob” you would make 23 ladder ornaments. Please register for the exchange using the form below. Registration will close on November 12th and ornaments assignments will be sent out by the 14th. The homemade ornaments can be as elaborate or simple as you would like. Common ornament materials include felt, wood (can be painted, decoupaged, etc.), craft foam, pipe cleaners, cloth, or air-dry clay, but it’s completely up to the maker! There’s no need to attach a day number to the ornament (since the length of Advent varies each year), but each ornament should include a way to hang it and the readings that it’s based on (example: “Genesis 1:2-2:4” on the “Day Two - Creation” ornament). Then, at the exchange, we’ll arrange the ornaments by “day” and each participant will be able to collect a whole set of ornaments for their Jesse Tree and take home 23 new and unique ornaments!


For a smaller group
If we have less than 23 people sign-up, then we will need less sets of ornaments but people might need to make ornaments for multiple “days.” For example if 20 people sign-up, then 17 people would make 20 ornaments for one “day” and 3 people would make 40 ornaments for 2 “days” (20 ornaments for each “day” they are assigned). We will cancel the event if less than 15 sign-up.

For a larger group
If we have more than 23 people sign-up, then we will need more sets of ornaments but people might need to split “days” with another person. The people sharing a “day” could work together or separately as they prefer. For example if 40 people sign-up, then 6 people would make 40 ornaments for one “day” and 34 people would make 20 ornaments for one “day” but they would share that “day” with a partner.

What if I Don’t Have a Jesse Tree?

A Jesse Tree can easily be made with some branches in a vase or using an indoor tree. There’s lots of DIY ideas out there, but we are hoping to have a fairly easy Jesse Tree Kit available at the Ornament Exchange.

Register for the Ornament Exchange

The Ornament Exchange and Potluck will be Monday, November 26th in the Holy Family Hall (Community Center) following the 5:15 pm Mass (about 6:30 pm). Registration will close at midnight on November 12th so ornament assignments can be given out by November 14th. Descriptions and reading for each ornament can be found below the registration form. If you know someone who would like to participate who does not use computers/email, please have them call Audrey at 303.279.4464. Thank you!

Name *
Descriptions of each "day" and the corresponding readings can be found below.
Smaller Group Ornament-Making Preferences *
Larger Group Ornament-Making Prefernces *
If you would like to bring a dish to the potluck, please indicate what type of dish it is. Thank you!

Ornaments By Day

The ornaments used on Jesse Trees can vary depending on which plan or book you follow. Some focus more on Biblical characters, others on the genealogy of Jesus, and others on a timeline of the Old Testament. We have created a plan that, hopefully, encompasses a little from each of those methods while giving a wide view of Salvation History. While we have organized the ornaments by the day they will be placed on the tree, there is no need to include this number on the ornament since the length of Advent varies year to year. Below, you will find a list of the ornament themes, organized by day, with corresponding readings and ideas for what can be used for the ornaments (feel free to come up with your own interpretation).

Day One - Word Became Flesh
John 1:1-18

Day Two - Creation
Genesis 1:2-2:4
Earth, Globe, Moon and Star

Day Three - Original Sin
Genesis 3:1-24
Apple with Snake

Day Four - Noah and the Ark
Genesis 7:1-9:17
Rainbow, Ark

Day Five - Abraham
Genesis 12:1-9, 15:1-21
Field of Stars, Camel and Tent

Day Six - Isaac
Genesis 22:1-19
Ram, Lamb

Day Seven - Jacob
Genesis 28:10-22

Day Eight - Joseph
Genesis 41:1-57
Colorful Coat

Day Nine - Moses
Exodus 2:23-3:15, 19:1-11, 20:1-17
Burning Bush, Whip, 10 Commandments

Day Ten - Joshua
Joshua 24:1-18, 25-28
Ram’s Horn Trumpet, Walls of Jericho

Day Eleven - Gideon
Judges 6:1-7:22
Clay Water Pitcher

Day Twelve - Ruth
Wheat, Barley, Wedding Rings

Day Thirteen - Jesse
Isaiah 11:1-9
Stump with Leaf, Lambs

Day Fourteen - David
2 Samuel 22:1-51
Crown, Harp, Slingshot

Day Fifteen - Elijah
1 Kings 17:1-24
Stone Altar, Fire, Ravens

Day Sixteen - Isaiah
Isaiah 6:1-13
Tongs with Hot Coal

Day Seventeen - Jeremiah
Jeremiah 7:1-15

Day Eighteen - Mary and the Annunciation
Luke 1:26-56
White Lily, Rosary

Day Nineteen - John the Baptist
Luke 3:1-16
Scallop Shell, Dove

Day Twenty - Joseph
Matthew 1:18-25
Carpenter’s Square, Hammer

Day Twenty-one - Journey to Bethlehem
Luke 2:1-6, Micah 5:1-4
Bethlehem Cityscape

Day Twenty-two - Light of the World
Isaiah 9:1-6

Day Twenty-three - The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:6-20
Infant Jesus in a Manger