What is a Jesse Tree?
The tradition of Jesse tree is a very old one, and started hundreds of years ago. Through pictures, visuals or symbols, it tells the story of God’s plan for salvation, starting with creation, and continuing to the birth of Jesus. The name of the Jesse tree, came from the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. – Isaiah 11:1 (NIV)
從耶西的樹幹必生出一根嫩芽，從他的根而出的枝條必結果子。- 以賽亞書 11:1 (CNVT)
从耶西的树干必生出一根嫩芽，从他的根而出的枝条必结果子。- 以赛亚书 11:1 (CNVS)
Jesus is this new branch that came from Jesse.
In the old days, the Jesse tree was often depicted in tapestries, stained glass windows, and manuscripts. During this time, although most people could not read, but can still learn about the bible stories through this visual representation. You can read about the history, and see some beautiful examples of medieval Jesse tree on Wikipedia.
Today, Jesse trees are similar to an advent calender, with with illustrated ornaments to represent the people, prophesies, and events leading up to the birth of Jesus. We found it a good way to tell the story of the faithfulness of God across thousand of years of history and God’s grace and mercy in an understandable manner for young children
Choosing A Jesse Tree
1 Twenty-Nine Ornaments – choice between 3inch ornaments or 5 inch ornaments, coloured or outline versions
2. Daily Family Devotions – We used this, with the ornaments, as it helped explained via the symbols, how God prepared for Jesus’s birth for many generations. There are four sections:
- Read – scripture verses
- Wonder (Meditation)
3. Daily Personal Devotions – devotions for teenagers or adults.
4 Jesse Tree toolkit – includes a basic overview of the Jesse Tree tradition, ideas for making your Jesse Tree and ornaments, and a suggested schedule of Bible passages and symbols.
Including Chinese into our selected Jesse Tree
You can download the bible verse printables in Chinese:
- Jesse Tree Advent English and Traditional Chinese Bible verses (For Cantonese and Mandarin speakers)
- Jesse Tree English and Traditional Chinese Bible verses with Jyutping (For Cantonese speakers)
- Jesse Tree Advent English and Simplified Chinese Bible verses (For Cantonese and Mandarin speakers)
- Jesse Tree Advent English and Simplified Chinese Bible verses with pinyin (For Mandarin speakers)
(*If there is sufficient demand, I can also create a pinyin version too.
Edit to add: Have created a Simplified Chinese version with pinyin)
You can stick them onto the back of the corresponding ornaments, or you can use them separately and draw a picture on the back of the ornament.
It was good that we started incorporating some Chinese into the activity. Although as a family, we worship in English, learning these Christian terminology will be helpful.
Bible verses used are from New International Version (NIV) and Chinese New Version (CNV). (To learn more about different Chinese bible versions, click here.)
Decorating the Jesse tree and doing the devotions as a family helped keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas. It reminded us of God’s plans and his faithfulness, of how he has plans for us, plans to prosper us and give us a future. We plan to continue this tradition for the next few years.
How are you observing Advent this Christmas Season?
Are you having an Advent calendar this year? Please share what you are doing this Advent!
You might also enjoy reading:
- Christian Advent Calendars and Jesse Trees for Kids in Chinese
- Our Second Bilingual English-Chinese Jesse Tree and Advent Devotion
- Nativity 耶穌誕生 Colouring Sheet with Chinese vocabulary and Jyutping
- Christmas Ornament Printable with Cantonese and Chinese vocabulary
- Christmas Carols lyrics
- Cantonese Christian Kids’ Songs 粵語兒童詩歌 on YouTube
- Songs4Kids 基督教兒童音樂: A Catalog of Christian Kids’ Music in Hong Kong
- Bible Stories in Cantonese on YouTube
- Which version of Chinese Bible should I Use?