Jesse Tree

photograph of a medieval wooden panel with a bas-relief depiction of the Tree of Jesse; swiped with permission from the flickr site of Brother Lawrence Lew, OP
Article

A depiction in art of the ancestors of Jesus shown as a tree which begins with Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David. It may web be the orginal use of a tree to depict a genealogy. It originates in a passage in the Book of Isaiah which describes metaphorically the descent of the Messiah, and refers to Jesus. The subject is often seen in Christian art, particularly in that of the Medieval period.

The tradition today has become a domestic devotion with families, youth groups and schools constructing and decorating Jesse trees during December, functioning as catechetical devices and creating family traditions. The tradtional themes for each day are

1 December
Creation
2 December
Adam and Eve
3 December
Fall of Man
4 December
Noah
5 December
Abraham
6 December
Isaac
7 December
Jacob
8 December
Joseph
9 December
Moses
10 December
Samuel
11 December
Jesse
12 December
King David
13 December
King Solomon
14 December
Saint Joseph
15 December
Mary
16 December
Saint John the Baptist
17 December
Jesus is Wisdom
18 December
Jesus is Lord
19 December
Jesus is the Flower of Jesse
20 December
Jesus is the Key of David
21 December
Jesus is the Radiant Dawn
22 December
Jesus is King of the Gentiles
23 December
Jesus is Emmanuel
24 December
Jesus is the Light of the World

MLA Citation

  • “Jesse tree”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 November 2010. Web. 11 December 2017. <>