The Gift of The Story

Written By Amy

Do you know the story of God?  Do your children?

What if we were to reflect, this Christmas, on our history of faith?  There is a story here, the incredible, tragic, redeeming story of God’s incredible love for his people.  And it is recorded in the Old and New Testament of the Bible.  Not only do I want to know this story, but I want my children to.  

My mother-in-law, Liz, gave our family the gift of this history through the Jesse Tree several years ago. The Jesse Tree is based on the scripture in Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots.”  It has become a Christmas tradition in our family to work on the Jesse tree throughout the Christmas Advent season, as it teaches our children about their history as children of God through symbols and scripture.  The story begins with Adam and Eve, walks us through the heroes of the Old Testament, and finishes with the beautiful story around the birth of Jesus.    Here’s how it works:

                    The tree begins full of velcro bows. They are gradually replaced by symbols that correspond with the reading each day.


Each day, one of our children chooses a card from the plastic box where we keep all the Jesse Tree supplies.  The cards are numbered for the 25 days of Advent.


We then read the scripture on the one side and the teaching “story” on the other. 

Another of our children  then picks the felt symbol that corresponds with what we have just learned and sticks it on the Jesse Tree.

Liz, who is a gifted seamstress, sewed the tree and all of the symbols.  You can use a piece of butcher paper and construction paper to create the same idea!

Here are some examples of other Jesse Trees:

I have included pictures below of each of the symbols if you would like make some of your own:

Ladder (Jacob) , Ram (Issac) , Tent (Abraham and Sarah), Wheat (Ruth), Burning Bush (Moses), Apple/Snake (Adam and Eve), Coat of Colors (Joseph)


Shell (John the Baptist), Angel (Angel), Shepherd’s Hook and Sandals (Shepherds), Star (Bethlehem), Prayer Hands (Zechariah and Elizabeth), Ark (Noah), Greek Letters (Jesus Christ), God’s Word (Jeremiah),


Lion (Daniel),  Fire from God (Elijah), Crown (David), Prayer (Mary), Temple (accidentally upside-down) (Solomon)


Carpenter (Joseph), Oil (Samuel), Plow (Isaiah)            Missing-Manger

If you would like to make the Jesse Tree for your family next year, click on THE JESSE TREE CARDS for a pdf to print out and cut.  The first page (lesson)  is meant to be backed by the second page (scriptures) and then cut and laminated, and so on.

I hope you are blessed by this gift.  Create one for yourself, for your grandchildren, or possibly pass the link on to someone who would like to create one of their own!















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