I have loved learning about the Jesse Tree tradition. Have you heard of this? You study the prophets in the days leading up to Christmas to help remember the true meaning of the season. I found Jesse Tree images set on TeachersPayTeachers. This year I was eager to make our own set of Jesse Tree ornaments to go along with it. Since I’m Mormon, I adapted our Jesse tree ornament advent count-down to Christmas with additional scriptures to make our own LDS Jesse Tree Christmas advent.
What is the Jesse Tree Tradition?
When I first heard of the Jesse Tree tradition, I loved it. It focuses on the genealogy of Jesus Christ, as indicated in Isaiah 11:1 (a branch out of Jesse). As a result, the days leading up to Christmas are to build the past by sharing the stories from before Jesus was born.
I liked that it focused on the Old Testament stories to prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. As a Christian, I find the Old Testament to be full with testimonies of Jesus Christ, even thousands of years before he was born. I love the Old Testament stories and I know my daughter does too. She loves listening to our Bible Stories CD, and she is always drawn to the Old Testament Stories in that volume.
It seems like a perfect way to celebrate the birth of our Savior!
Why Make an LDS Jesse Tree?
I started preparing our Jesse Tree ornaments back in the beginning of November. I went through the images that I purchased from Keeping Life Creative. I understood that I would need to find verses to go along with each image. As I did so, I found verses and stories that correlated to times after the Savior was on the earth as well as those from before!
So many Old Testament stories correlate perfectly (and clearly) with scriptures from the cannon of scriptures for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Take, for example, the story of Moses and the brass serpent. In the Book of Mormon, having faith in the Liahona is compared to the brass serpent. Compare Moses’ faith in parting the sea to Nephi’s faith getting the plates and making a ship. Or Samuel’s mother (Hannah) to the mothers of the stripling warriors. Time and again, stories compare so well.
In addition, because we know that the Old Testament stories do not contain the fullness of the gospel, it seemed only obvious to me that we needed to clarify with Christ’s own teachings!
Adding LDS Scriptures to the Jesse Tree Tradition
I had so much fun studying and searching the scriptures to put this together. I did not do it alone, however. I found an amazing blog post just about this (LDS Jesse Tree) and that helped me figure out that I definitely needed to double side my ornaments to cover all the stories I wanted to cover!
As it was, each ornament has two pictures. most of the time, one is from the traditional Jesse Tree/Old Testament images (purchased from TPT). The other image is one I found on the LDS.org Media site. I love my end result.
For example, on the day we read in the Bible about the Tower of Babel, we also read the Jaredite account and the story of the brother of Jared.
To make these ornaments, I used the following supplies:
I glued an image to one side of the circle, wrote the day the image was for on the side, then applied ModPodged to the surface. When I had both sides for one day ready, then I used the glue gun to glue on the ribbon and glue the two sides together. I love how they turned out!
LDS Jesse Tree Advent
I cannot share the images I printed out because those images are copyrighted. But here are the words. I’d like it to be easy for other Mormons to make their own Mormon Jesse Tree if they so desire.
Day 1: The Jesse Tree & The Iron Rod. Isaiah 11:1-2, Jacob 4:4, 2 Nephi 25:26
Just as stems grow from the tree’s branches, Jesus Christ came as a “stem” from the line of Jesse. The prophets of the Old Testament and the stories of the Old Testament (the roots of the tree) repeatedly bear witness of Jesus Christ. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that the Iron Rod is the Word of God, or the scriptures. So, along with the Old Testament witnesses of Christ, we also study the witnesses of Christ from all the volumes of scripture.
Day 2: Creation of the World & The Plan of Salvation. Genesis 1-2, Moses 4:1-2, Alma 30:44
We lived with our Heavenly Father in Heaven before we came to the earth. Because we wanted to be like our Heavenly Father, we sought for a way to come to earth and then return to Him. He made a glorious earth for us. He knew we would make mistakes and so He called His Son, Jesus Christ to come to earth and be the Savior of us all. We shouted for joy to learn of His plan!
Day 3: Adam and Eve & Families. Genesis 3, Articles of Faith 2 and 3, 2 Nephi 2:17-25
Although Heavenly Father told Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they tasted the fruit anyway. Because they did not know good from evil, they did not sin. But they had transgressed God’s law, so they needed a Savior. When they chose to learn of good and evil, Adam and Eve were able to have a family. We all gained the chance to come to the earth to learn as well. Because God promised to send His Son as a Savior, we have the hope of forgiveness for our mistakes.
Day 4: Noah’s Rainbow Covenant & Sunrise. Genesis 9:13,15, D&C 22:1, Isaiah 9:2
Noah followed God’s commandments and his family was saved when the world was flooded. God put the rainbow in the sky as a covenant with Noah that He would never again flood the world. Noah could trust that God would keep His promise about sending a Savior. In our age, we covenant with Heavenly Father as well. The Savior is the light of the world and when we follow Him, we need not worry about the darkness that surrounds us.
Day 5: Tower of Babel & The Jaredite Stones. Genesis 11:4-9, Ether 3:8-15
After Noah, the people on the earth once again became wicked. Some believed they could reach heaven by building a tower. God was not happy with this wickedness, and He caused the languages to be confused so people could no longer work together. The brother of Jared prayed to keep his family together. Because of his faith, he saw that Christ would have a body like his, and learned that Jesus was “prepared before the foundation of the world.”
Day 6: Abraham’s Promise & The Ram. Genesis 17:1-6, Genesis 22:1-18, Isaiah 53:7, 3 Nephi 20:25, D&C 132:30-32
God promised Abraham, a righteous prophet, that he’d have as much posterity as the number of stars in the sky. When his son Isaac was young, Abraham was asked to offer him as a sacrifice. Trusting God, Isaac submitted to his father, just as Jesus submitted to his father. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his much-loved son, just as God offered His Beloved Son. God provided Abraham with a ram to sacrifice, and He gave us the Atonement.
Day 7: Joseph’s Coat of Colors & John the Baptist. Genesis 37:3, 31-36, Genesis 45:4-8, Alma 46:23-27, Matthew 3:2-3, 11-17
Joseph received the birthright of the priesthood from his father Jacob. In jealousy, his brothers sold him, much as Christ was sold for 30 pieces of silver. But it was through Joseph that Jacob’s family was saved from starvation. Joseph forgave them for their earlier cruelty. Jesus, too, cried out “Father, forgive them.” Just as Joseph, John the Baptist had the priesthood. He prepared the way for Jesus and baptized Him. In the later days, John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood to the earth.
Day 8: The Burning Bush & The First Vision. Exodus 3:2-6, Moses 1:2, JS-H 1:17-19
Moses saw God face-to-face as he spoke with Him in the burning bush. Likewise, Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in the First Vision.
Day 9: Parting the Red Sea & Building a Boat. Exodus 14:26-30, Hebrews 11:29, 1 Nephi 3:7, 1 Nephi 17:3,7, 26-27, 49-50
Moses parted the Red Sea through the power of faith. With similar faith, Nephi followed his father’s commandment to get the brass plates from Laban and to build a boat that would carry him to the promised land.
Day 10: The 10 Commandments & The Greatest Commandment. Exodus 20: 2-17, Matthew 22:36-40
After Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, he spoke with God on Mount Sinai and received the ten commandments. These commandments were to help the people of Israel prepare for a higher law. When Christ came he gave us an even greater law, to love one another.
Day 11: Brass Serpent & Liahona. John 3:14-15, Helaman 8:14-15, 1 Nephi 16:28, Alma 37:45
The children of Israel were dying from poisonous serpents. Moses taught that if the people would look to the brass serpent, they would be healed. Many failed to do so because of the easiness of the way. Similarly, if we will follow Christ, we will live. Likewise, when the Nephites acted in faith, the Liahona would work for them.
Day 12: The Battle of Jericho & Scales of Justice. Joshua 6, Judges 4:4-9
Joshua followed the counsel of the Lord to overtake Jericho, showing that when we follow the Lord we will be saved. Deborah was a prophetess, judge and war leader. As judge and temporal savior of her people, she is like a type of the Second Coming of Christ.
Day 13: Ruth & Enos. Ruth 1:16, Ruth 4:13-17. Enos 1:8, 26
Because Ruth was converted to the gospel, she followed her mother-in-law. She was virtuous and so was an ancestor of Jesus. Enos too trusted his father. He bore a powerful witness even without seeing or hearing Jesus.
Day 14: Samuel in the Tabernacle & The Stripling Warriors. 1 Samuel 2:1-11, 1 Samuel 3:1-10, Alma 36:12-13, Alma 53:20-21, Alma 56:43-48
Samuel’s mother, Hannah, dedicated his life to God by giving him to the temple to be trained as a worker. Her influence must have been great because Samuel ministered well in the temple, and the Lord called to him. Likewise, the Stripling Warriors went to battle knowing that their faith was true because their mothers had taught them.
Day 15: David and Goliath & Seed. 1 Samuel 17:32-49, D&C 64: 31-34, D&C 76:22-24
David defeated Goliath by his faith. Similarly, by small and simple means did the Lord bring to pass a great work, just as a small seed can bring about the growth of a large plant or tree. Joseph Smith was not a greatly learned man, but he was the servant the Lord needed. Joseph Smith sealed his testimony of Jesus with his blood.
Day 16: A Broken Heart & Greatest is the Servant. 2 Kings 5, John 13:4-17, Matthew 23:11
The proud Captain, Naaman, wanted to be healed of his leprosy. He had to humble himself to take direction from the servant of the prophet of Israel. He had to have a broken heart of humility. Likewise, the Lord demonstrated His humility as He washed the feet of his disciples. He taught us that the greatest among us shall be the servant.
Day 17: The Fire (Elijah and the Priests) & The Whirlwind. 1 Kings 18:21-39, 1 Kings 19:11-12
Elijah the prophet challenged the Priests of Ba’al, a false god, to call down power from heaven. They failed, and he called down the true God’s power. He also taught that the power of the spirit comes not from thunder and great shows of power but from a still small voice.
Day 18: Jonah and the Whale & Alma’s Testimony of the Chains of Death. Jonah 1:12-15, Matthew 12:39-41, Mosiah 27:11-16 & 28-29, Alma 7:10-13
Jonah was called on a mission but he did not want to go. He ended up in the fish for three days, much like Christ was in the tomb for three days. During Alma the Younger’s conversion experience, he too suffered for three days. He felt the consequences of his sins and was wrapped in the chains of death. Then he remembered his father’s teachings. He called out to Christ for forgiveness and was released from his agony. Christ suffered our pains and sin so we do not have to. He loosed the chains of both physical and spiritual death.
Day 19: Daniel and the Lions & The Good Shepherd. Daniel 6:10-23, Psalms 23, John 10:14
Daniel trusted in God to protect him when he followed the commandments. God did, shutting the lions’ mouths when he was cast in the lions’ den. Likewise, King David sang praises to the Lord, whom he called the Shepherd, testifying that God will care for him even if in the shadow of the valley of death.
Day 20: The Bones & the Temple. Ezekiel 37:1-17, D&C 110:13-16, D&C 138:17
When Ezekiel wrote about his vision of the bones, he talked about family history work and how we are all connected. In the latter days, after the Savior’s resurrection, Elijah came to the Temple. Today, we can all be sealed in the temples to be eternal families. When we are resurrected, we will all be brought together again, bone for bone, as Ezekiel prophesied.
Day 21: Queen Esther & Samuel the Lamanite’s Wall. Esther 4:4, Esther 7:3, Helaman 14:1-8
Esther acted as an intercessor for her people, just as Christ is our intercessor. Samuel the Lamanite, a righteous prophet, was sent to call the wicked Nephites to repentance. He also prophesied of the coming of the Messiah. The righteous people in America sought for the signs he spoke of, eager for the Savior’s birth.
Day 22: The Wise Men & Nephi’s Star. Matthew 2:9-11, 3 Nephi 1:8-14
The wise men followed a star to seek out the new King of the Jews. Similarly, in the New World, Samuel the Lamanite prophesied a new star would appear when the Savior was born. The prophet Nephi prayed earnestly that the star would appear to spare the lives of the believers.
Day 23: The Shepherd & The Trumpet. Luke 2:15-16, Revelation 14:6-7, D&C 128:30
Angels chose to visit humble shepherds to announce the birth of the Lord of the world. Many hundreds of years later, the Church was restored on earth. Revelation tells us that an angel (Moroni) blew the trumpet to usher in the Restoration of the gospel. Moroni will also blow the trumpet on resurrection morning (D&C 88). These are exciting times!
Day 24: The Manger & The Crown. Luke 2, D&C 133:25, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 53, Matthew 16:27 Acts 1:11,
The Savior of the world, God’s first begotten Son, was born in a humble stable and laid in a manger. When He comes again, He will come to rule and reign on the earth.