All posts written by Jared Kennedy

The Jesse Tree: An Advent Celebration

Many families mark the days of advent with a traditional advent calendar, opening a tiny door for each day leading up to Christmas.  Our family advent tradition, the Jesse Tree focuses on tracing the storyline of God’s family from Creation to Cross.   We all have a family tree–branches filled with mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  The Jesse Tree is a means by which we remember God’s family line and heritage as well as our place in it.  As Christian parents, we remember our adoption into God’s family by his grace.  As we teach our children we pray that God will include them in this family by giving them living faith.

What is a Jesse Tree?  In our home, it is a tiny 1.5 foot discount store Christmas tree (pictures to come in future posts).  On it, we hang a laminated paper ornament for each day of Advent.  Each ornament on the tree represents the story of a person 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 tree, a Bible passage or a story from a story Bible is read.  This is the story of God’s family, the story of our family.  As we read his Word, we remember that Jesus came for his family,  Jesus comes to us, and he will come again.  Come Lord Jesus.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll give a brief outline of the stories and symbols that we’re using at the Kennedy house for our Jesse Tree.  In putting together this project, we’ve found the following resources to be very helpful. Continue Reading…

“Spankings don’t save children”

Gospel-Centered Curriculum

I was privileged to meet Yancey Arrington of Clear Creek Church in TX at the Acts 29 Boot Camp in Louisville earlier this month.  This is an article he’s put together for church leaders on gospel-centered curriculum. I really like a number of the charts, and I think they could easily be adapted for teacher training.

For Dads on Thanksgiving

Darrin Patrick (via Twitter):

Fathers…be the chief memory maker, CEO of fun, legacy creator and tradition starter for your family this holiday season.

A good word.  Here is an even better one from Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs

Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Learning Centers: Library Center

Library Center

This is a combination reading, puzzle, and games center.  It provides a place for quiet individual play or group activity.

Use the Center:

  • When reading to kids, be certain to engage them by reading the story in an expressive way—use facial expression and voice inflection. 
  • Be sure to show the pictures, and encourage the children to find and point out objects on the pages.
  • After you are finished, ask kids to retell the story in their own words.
  • When playing games, encourage the kids to take turns, and teach about sharing.

Clean Up: Have the children put the books, puzzles, and games away on the shelves as they found them.  Put puzzles together before putting them away.