Advent is the Catholic Christmas liturgical season leading up to Christmas. For four weeks, we pray, fast, read Bible passages on the gospel Christmas story and give alms to the poor. The theme of Advent is to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. One way is to pray an Advent calendar. Another, related to the Advent calendar is to follow a Jesse Tree.
The Jesse Tree is an ancient visual aid the shows the lineage of Jesus. The basis comes from the Old Testament Bible passage "a root shall spring up from the stump of Jesse's lineage." This Bible foretells the birth of the Messiah and that He will come through Jesse, King David's father. . During Advent, symbols are hung on the Jesse Tree to represent Bible characters and people in Jesus's family tree.
Here are free printable Jesse Tree devotional activities. Each night, have children color one symbol place it on the Jesse Tree. Do this as you light candles on the Advent wreath and candles and read and pray from the Advent calendar. The Jesse Tree ends by adding images from the O Antiphons, another ancient Advent to Christmas series of prayers.
Life Your Way has a set of free printable Jesse Tree ornaments with Biblical symbols. ERIERCD has several pages of Jesse Tree coloring pages to print free. Print in black and white and have kids color. Jesse Tree ornaments include apple tree (Adam and Eve). Ark and rainbow (Noah), tent (Abraham), cradle (Sarah), coat (Joseph), stone tablets (Moses), Harp (David), ladder (Jacob), tambourine (Miriam), crown (Solomon), anchor (Ruth) lion and lamb (Isaiah), mallet (Deborah), trumpet (Joshua), lion (Daniel), well (Rebecca), house (Elizabeth), lily (Mary) hammer (St. Joseph) Chi Ro (Jesus). The Reformed Church in America has more free printable Jesse Tree symbols to color. Catholic Icing has more printable Advent Jesse tree crafts. 1+1+1=1 has a free printable Jesse Tree booklet with devotions, prayers and crafts to make.
The Jesse Tree can be made in many ways. In times past, it was a Christmas tree. Some families use a tree made of paper or a cloth banner with detachable ornaments. In our family I use a small table top tree with child-made ornaments and symbols. We add one each day.