Make a Jesse tree advent calendar if you want to count down the days until Christmas with a little more than daily chocolate. I first learned about the Jesse tree craft idea last year on Pinterest when I came across a cute photo from Lacy Rabideau’s blog post, “O Jesse Tree, O Jesse Tree” on her website: Catholic Icing. I fell in love with the idea of creating a Jesse tree advent calendar craft for my kids, but advent was already almost over. This year I got started early on my Jesse tree advent calendar. If you are looking for some free Jesse tree patterns or Jesse tree clip art, you’re in luck. I have designed over 26 Jesse tree ornament clip art images for you to use with your kids. I wanted to print mine in full color and use a felt canvas. But I also made copies of them in black and white too. This way you can have your kids color their Jesse tree clip art images with crayons, too.
Free Jesse Tree Clip Art Patterns for Your Advent Calendar
Download my 26 free clip art Jesse tree advent patterns to use on your Jesse tree advent calendar at the bottom of this post. There are 5 PDF pages of high quality 3″ diameter full color ornaments. There are also 5 PDF pages of black and white line drawings too if you are looking for Jesse tree advent coloring pages. I hope you like them. I enjoyed making each Jesse tree advent pattern. My patterns are made to follow the suggestions for Jesse tree advent calendar symbols on Catholic Culture’s website. But anyone wanting to make a Jesse tree with their kids can use these.
If you like them, and if you have suggestions for additional ornament designs, add a comment. I would love to hear how you used them. I am also willing to make more ornament designs if I knew they would be useful. I really enjoy doing this kind of simple, kid-friendly artwork. My Jesse tree advent calendar is designed to be used from December 1 through December 24. I did this so that it can be used annually.
This year advent starts on Dec. 2. I chose not to follow the official advent calendar with my Jesse tree craft. This is because advent changes every year. Sometimes it is longer and sometimes it is shorter. I decided to use the month of December for our Jesse tree advent calendar, instead because I wanted to make a family tradition that can be done year after year in our house, and hopefully passed down. I purposely left the dates off of my Jesse tree clip art so that you can choose to do what you wish. Catholic culture has a nice article about using the Jesse tree for advent. I used their guidelines to create my Jesse tree clip art.
Learn the Story behind the Jesse Tree Advent Calendar
In the old testament, Jesse was the father of King David. In the Bible children learn that Jesus comes from the house of David. So the Jesse tree advent calendar is used to tell the genealogy of Jesus from Jesse to John the Baptist. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Medieval artwork in the Catholic church shows the genealogy of Jesus with a branched tree. One very famous one is in the Cathedral of Chartres. These images are made out of stained glass and usually show a tree growing out of a figure of Jesse. Each branch of the tree shows famous biblical figures, all ancestors of Jesus. At the top of the tree are of Mary and Jesus.
The Jesse tree advent calendar I created uses the ‘O’ Antiphons in the final week before Christmas. I will get into that more later. But if you aren’t aware of what they are, I will give you a quick definition. The ‘O’ Antiphons are all descriptions of Jesus. They come from prophesies made by Isaiah about the Messiah. There is some really cool history to this tradition. I also learned things about the Benedictine Monks who created them. But I will tell you more about this later.
Making Your Own Jesse Tree Advent Calendar
You can make a very simple Jesse tree advent calendar with poster board and markers. It certainly doesn’t need to be super crafty. I decided to make an heirloom craft project that we can use year after year as a family tradition. But you can really do anything you’d like. Some families use a miniature table top tree. Some will get a branch from the yard and put it on the wall or in a pot. Be creative with your Jesse tree advent calendar craft.
It’s quite huge. My felt board measures about 3 feet wide by 4 1/2 feet tall. Of course your Jesse tree doesn’t have to be that big. I made the ornaments with iron on transfer paper. To do this I had to flip the images horizontally so that they were backwards. (Like looking in a mirror). Otherwise the writing on the ornaments will turn out reversed when you iron it on to your fabric. My PDF pages are not flipped, so if you plan to make iron on transfers let me know. I can add some flipped pages to this post for you.
How to Use the Jesse Tree Advent Calendar with your Family
You will need a Bible. If you don’t have one you can easily find a free Bible online. If you’d like a well organized and convenient resource for advent, check out Christine Johnson’s Jesse tree page at her blog: Domestic Vocation. She has graciously added a page that links to all the daily readings– which she typed up and formatted herself.
Each night in the month of December you will read a story from the Bible with your kids and place an ornament (or two) on the Jesse tree. If you’ve got little kids you can either use a children’s bible or paraphrase the story yourself. Of course, if you are not Catholic you can use any Bible you’d like. My Jesse tree clip art is designed for the Catholic Bible (we’ve got a few extra books like Sirach). I am sure you can make the images work for you even if you don’t have a Catholic Bible.
Jesse Tree Clip Art Ornaments by Date:
You can use one symbol each day during December until Christmas Eve. I made a couple extra ornaments. Use them or omit them. I tried to fit all the suggested symbols from Catholic Culture in each Jesse tree ornament I designed. In some cases it was just too hard to do. These clip art Jesse tree patterns are made to go along with the scriptures and symbols suggested by Catholic Culture, but they are not the only symbols to use. Do you have a Jesse tree advent ornament in mind? Let me know. I am more than happy to add to this list of designs.