Advent is a time of waiting, a time of anticipation and preparation for the coming of Jesus. There are many ways to get ready for Christmas. One way is through a Jesse Tree.
What is a Jesse Tree? It is a tree branch decorated with symbols representing the stories of people in Jesus’ family tree. In Isaiah 11:1 we read, “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Jesse was the father of David, Israel’s greatest king. And it was from David’s lineage that Jesus came. That’s where the idea of using a Jesse Tree to celebrate Advent came from. Before a symbol is hung on the branch, a Bible passage or a story from a story Bible is read.
“The Jesse Tree is a unique Advent tree that can be very useful and fun for teaching children about the Bible at Christmas time. The Jesse Tree represents the family tree, or genealogy of Jesus Christ. It tells the story of God’s salvation plan from creation and throughout the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah. The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” (NASB)
Each day of Advent an ornament is added to the Jesse Tree, any small tree will work fine, and a correlating scripture passage is read. These symbolic ornaments each represent a prophecy foretelling of Christ, ancestors in the lineage of Christ, and various symbols of Christianity. “
*Adapted from About.com
Here is a more in-depth explanation.