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, OPArticle

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 original 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 traditional themes for each day are

1 December
2 December
Adam and Eve
3 December
Fall of Man
4 December
5 December
6 December
7 December
8 December
9 December
10 December
11 December
12 December
King David
13 December
King Solomon
14 December
Saint Joseph
15 December
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. 21 January 2020. Web. 29 November 2020. <>