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The Jesse Tree: An Advent Celebration, Part 3

Jesse Tree Outlines for December 9th-11th
(adapted for our toddlers from the RCA website and The Glorious Coming. The symbols and patterns used below are copyrighted by Reformed Church Press)

December 9th: The Law

Galatians 3:24 (NIV)  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

God wants us to love him and to love one another.   God wants us to treat others the way that we want to be treated.  To help us to understand how to care for each other, many years ago God gave Moses ten ways to live and love others perfectly.  These ten rules are called the Ten Commandments, and they are still good rules for us today.  But there is a problem.  No one can keep them.  Israel promised to keep them, but they could not.  We cannot either.  God gave us his rules to show us that we have sinful and selfish hearts, hearts that do not work properly, hearts that do not want to trust and believe that God is good.  God’s rules lead us to make a true confession about ourselves.  We are sinners, and we need the Savior to come and take away our sins.  Come Lord Jesus.  Give us your perfect goodness because we cannot be good without you.

December 10th: Rahab

Joshua 2:9 “I know that the Lord has given this land to you.”

The Israelites were ready to enter the land that God had promised them. They sent two men into the land to find out more about the land. It was very dangerous to go into the land; if the people who ruled the land had found the two Israelites they would have been killed.  Rahab saved the lives of two of God’s people.  She hid the two men in her house and then helped them to escape.  She knew that God had promised the city of Jericho to Joshua and the Israelites, and she believed that God is a powerful God.  Brave Rahab honored God because she believed in God’s power. Even though Rahab was a sinful woman, God protected Rahab and her family.  Rahab hung a red rope from the window in her house so that the Israelites would remember to protect her.  God remembered Rahab’s faith and took care of her for the rest of her life.  Jesus was one of her children’s children.  Father, help us to trust in your strength.  Come and help us to believe.  Let your grace cover our sins.

December 11th: Ruth

Ruth 1:16 (NIV) But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

Ruth and Naomi had lost all the people they loved. Naomi’s two sons–one of them was Ruth’s husband–had died, and Naomi’s husband had died too. Naomi had been living in Ruth’s country, far from her family, and so Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. Ruth could have stayed in her own country with her own family, but she chose to go to Bethlehem with Naomi.  She chose to follow Naomi’s God, the true God, instead of the pretend gods that her own people worshiped.  Naomi was so sad that she thought that God had forgotten her. In the days of the Bible, most women did not work at a job, so women would go into the fields and take the grain that the farmers left behind. Ruth went into the field to gather grain, and there she met Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s, who took care of them.   Boaz and Ruth married and had a son.  One of their children’s children was King David, and one of his children’s children was Jesus.  God does not forget his children.  He remembers.  He keeps his promises.  Thank you father for your faithfulness.  Help us to remember you.  Help us to believe that you alone are the true God.

The Jesse Tree: An Advent Celebration, Part 2

Jesse Tree Outlines for December 3rd-8th

(adapted for our toddlers from the RCA website and The Glorious Coming. The symbols and patterns used below are copyrighted by Reformed Church Press).  For more information about Jesse Tree resources, see part 1.

December 3: Ark of Safety

Genesis 6:8 (NIV) But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

When people sin, or do wrong things, God must punish it.  There came a time when there was so much sin in the world that God had to find a way to remove it.  God was gracious to Noah, and Noah and his family remembered God.  God asked Noah to build an ark to save his own family and the animals.  Then God sent rain and the world flooded, and God destroyed all the people and animals that were not on the ark. When the flood was over and Noah and his family were safely on dry ground, God made a covenant, or a promise, with Noah. God promised not to send another flood that would destroy the world. As a sign of this promise, God put a rainbow in the sky.  Even in a sinful world, God still loves us and keeps his promises.  Thank you, God, for keeping your promises. Continue Reading…

Learning Centers: Pocket Chart

Toddler Pocket Chart

This center provides a place for working on Bible and doctrine memory.  Toddlers can’t yet read, but they need the encouragement and comfort of God’s word.  Teach one word at a time and use the provided pictures on the back of each card. The Show Me Jesus! curriculum teaches 18 verses and 15 doctrine questions yearly.

Use the Center:

  • Fall: Genesis 1:1; Psalm 53:3b; Matthew 1:23b; Luke 1:37; 1 Thess 5:16-17; Psalm 30:10b; Questions 1-5
  • Winter: Luke 2:14a; 1 Cor 8:6b; Acts 9:20b; 1 John 4:19; Questions 1-8
  • Spring: John 17:17b; Acts 16:31a; Matthew 22:39b; Psalm 23:1a; Questions 1-11
  • Summer: Psalm 9:1a; Psalm 143:10a; Psalm 150:6; Psalm 25:4; Questions 1-15

Clean Up: Put verses and questions away in the proper envelope after each memory session.

Advent: The Light Has Come

“The Light Has Come”: Creative Worship Sunday for Advent

The Creative Worship Sunday for Advent celebrated Jesus as the light that shines into our dark world.  You can link to the Bible lesson and musical liturgy and art project that or download the full lesson plan (PDF).   Also, check out our Jesse Tree family devotions:

We also hope you enjoy the video documentary of the project (below), which was created by our own Drew Layman.

The Light Has Come from Jared Stewart Kennedy on Vimeo.

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…