iLight 2020: Jesse Tree Advent family devotional

Kids holding Jesse Tree symbols

Day 9: Looking for a meaningful way to celebrate Advent with your family? Creating and decorating a Jesse Tree is the perfect excuse to come together and learn more about Jesus’ family history. Make sure to check in tomorrow as we launch our last video from families and parishes. 

December 9
December 9: Azzi Family

Each time we put a new symbol on the tree, we can take time to reflect on the example it provides us, to help us become better people and grow closer to Jesus.

We’d love to see your Jesse Tree, share your pics on social media using the tag: #iLight2020

Download the resources so you can follow along at home here and the symbols here.

Jesse Tree Symbol - Baby in the basket

DAY 9 – “She names him Moses, “because” she said, “I drew him out of the water.   (Ex. 2:10)

The ninth symbol to hang on your Jesse Tree is of BABY IN A BASKET

As a baby Moses was placed in a basket and sent down the river to be saved, after the Pharaoh of Egypt ordered Hebrew baby boys to be killed. He was discovered by the King’s daughter and raised to be a great man. When he eventually found out who he really was, he led God’s people out of danger; to the land he promised.

DAY 8 – “So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; and they took him and threw him into a pit.  (Genesis 37:22-24)

The eighth symbol to hang on your Jesse Tree is of a TUNIC

Jacob loved his son Joseph so much that he had a bright and colourful tunic made for him. This made his brothers jealous and they schemed to get rid of Joseph by selling him as a slave. But eventually Joseph was set free and, with God’s help, he forgave his brothers and lived out God’s plan for him.

Watch the video here.

DAY 7 – “And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12)

Today (December 7), the seventh symbol to hang on your Jesse Tree is of a LADDER.

Abraham’s son, Isaac, grew up to have his own son, Jacob, who had a dream about a ladder that connects Heaven to the Earth. In his dream, the Lord stood beside Jacob and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Issac and the land in which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring…and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Gen 28:14

Watch the video here.

DAY 6 – Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said “Abraham, Abraham.” (Genesis 22:10-12)

Today (December 6), hang a picture of a RAM on your Jesse Tree.

Abraham is called on by God to make a difficult promise; to offer up his son, Isaac’s life, to God. He obeyed and trusted in God. In the middle of the act, he was interrupted by an angel and his baby was saved. Abram offered a ram as a present to God in his son’s place. God’s great love for all those who trust him is the centre of the story.

Watch the video here.

DAY 5 – Now the Lord said to Abram, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2)

Today (December 5), Hang a picture of stars on your Jesse Tree, representing a STARRY NIGHT

In the story of Abram, he was promised wonderful things by God. And, like Noah, Abram had to have faith and trust God’s plan for him. God asked him to leave his home with his wife Sarai. In return, God said he would make them parents with as many children and grandchildren as stars in the night sky.

Watch the video here.

DAY 4 – God said “When I bring clouds over the earth and the [rain]bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Genesis. 9:14-15)

Today (December 4) the fourth symbol to hang on your Jesse Tree is of a RAINBOW

The story of Noah tells of a time when God loved his people so much that to save them, he had to destroy all the bad things in the world. God rescued Noah by telling him to build an ark and take his family and two of each animal – all that was good – onto the ark to keep safe from the floods.

Watch the video here.

DAY 3 – God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it” (Genesis 3:3)

Today (December 3), the third symbol to hang on your Jesse Tree is of an APPLE

In the beginning of the creation story, God created everything good and with a purpose. Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden by eating from the one tree in which God asked them not to eat. Eating this forbidden fruit (apple) became known as the first sin.

Watch the video here.

DAY 2 – “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him helper suitable for him  (Genesis 2:18)

Today (December 2), the second symbol to hang on your Jesse Tree is of ADAM AND EVE

The Bible tells us God created Adam from dust and placed him in the Garden of Eden. Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs to be his companion. 

Watch the video here.

earth jesse tree

DAY 1 – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1)

Today (December 1), as a family, start by finding a tree – whether real or ornamental, or even just a decorative paper tree stuck to a wall or fridge. 

The first symbol to hang on your Jesse Tree is of EARTH. Cut out a picture of the EARTH and hang this paper ornament on your family Jesse Tree.

This symbol represents the creation of heavens and Earth by God over seven days and reminds us that God is the creator and centre of all things. 

Watch the video here.

Jesse tree drawing
The Jesse Tree is named after Jesse, the father of King David, the first ancestor of Jesus,  says Anthony Cleary.

“Advent presents a rare and precious opportunity to reset our inner compass and seek direction where we can adopt prayerful daily habits,” Anthony Cleary, Sydney Catholic Schools’  (SCS) Mission & Identity Director, said.

“This year, we are asking our schools to join us on a more meaningful journey to celebrate Advent, with the traditional Jesse Tree – or Jesus’ family tree!”

The Jesse Tree is a very old tradition used to help tell the story from Creation to the birth of baby Jesus.

Mission & Identity’s iLight 2020 program invites families to place 24 symbols of stories and people in the Bible on the Jesse Tree throughout the four weeks of Advent, leading up to the coming of Christ.

“The purpose of iLight 2020 is for each one of us to be a light in the darkness of what has been a most challenging year,” Mr Cleary said.

“We warmly invite you to journey towards Christmas as a wider Catholic community this Advent by sharing this initiative with your school and parish community.”