THE JESSE TREE 25 FAMILY DEVOTIONS LEADING UP TO CHRISTMAS

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1 THE JESSE TREE 25 FAMILY DEVOTIONS LEADING UP TO CHRISTMAS

2 Christmas is a wonderful time for celebration. A time to remember God s amazing act of love in sending his Son. A time to remember that the story of Christmas began before God even created the world. It was already in God s mind that he would send his only Son to earth, to be born in Bethlehem and, then later, to die to save us from the consequences of our sin. Christmas takes on an even greater meaning when we know the background that lies behind it from the Bible. This Christmas devotional guide will help you and your family to understand the magnitude and beauty of God s work throughout history. It follows God s story from the moment of creation, right up to the birth of Jesus in an animal shed. It will remind you of God s sovereign control over all things and his loving plan to bring salvation to all people. We hope you and your family enjoy the Jesse Tree as much as we did. We trust you and your child(ren) will discover the rich thread of Jesus story. Who knows, the Jesse Tree might just become a wonderful family tradition for you too. 1. BEGIN BY MAKING A JESSE TREE A Jesse tree is simply a branch from your garden which you place in a pot and locate in your dining/lounge room. As you use this guide you will see this branch will carry the story of Jesus. He is described in Isaiah 11:1 as the shoot of the stump of Jesse, the branch that will bear fruit (Isaiah 11:1). This image is a link between the Old Testament and New Testament elements of Gods work of salvation. In fact, when Jesus was called a Nazarene in Matthew 2:23 we are told he fulfilled what was said through the prophets. Matthew is referring to Isaiah 11:1. (The word Nazarene has the same root as the Hebrew word Branch). With this background in mind we call this branch the Jesse tree. Each day, after you have completed the Bible reading, hang the symbol for that day on the Jesse tree. These do not need to be fancy. Simple drawings or cut out pictures look great. The children can take it in turns to do the pictures. If you hang these from the bottom of your Jesse tree and work your way up then by Christmas Day you will have 25 symbols which tell the Bibles story. You could also make a Christmas Calendar. Draw up an outline of the 25 days and in each box put the symbol for the day. Whatever you choose to do it doesn t need to be a major production. Children will enjoy doing something different. But you can let them be as creative as your time and resources will allow. 2. BEGIN YOUR FAMILY DEVOTION BY READING THE KEY VERSE AND THE PASSAGES The Bible readings for each day can also be adapted to suit your children s ages and learning levels. On some days large amounts of Biblical information are covered, so only selected verses are highlighted. The key verses can be used as a memory verse if you like. How about a family challenge to see who can remember the most verses? 3. ASK YOUR CHILDREN TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS (They could take turns asking the questions.) 4. TELL EVERYONE WHAT THE DAY S SYMBOL IS AND EXPLAIN WHY IT IS SO 5. TIE/HANG THE SYMBOL ON YOUR JESSE TREE 6. REVIEW THE STORY BY LOOKING AT THE SYMBOLS ON YOUR JESSE TREE For example you might ask: What does the rising sun mean? Why did God make the rainbow? 7. FINALLY Conclude your devotional time with prayer, committing your family to our Heavenly Father and asking him to help you to grow in the knowledge and love of him.

3 DAY ONE CREATION Rising sun on horizon In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 What was the earth like before God created anything? Name some things God has created. What is your favourite thing that God has created? Who was with God in the beginning? Who is the light of men? Why do you think he is called that? Genesis 1:1-2, John 1:1-5 DAY TWO CREATION OF MAN Man/woman God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 In whose image was man created? How did God make the man? How did God create the woman? What did God tell the man and woman to do? Genesis 1:26-30, 2:7-8, DAY THREE THE FIRST SIN Tree and snake The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 What did God say Adam and Eve could do? How did the serpent try to trick them? What happened after they ate the fruit? Why? How would you define sin? Genesis 3:1-9 DAY FOUR THE FLOOD Rainbow Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. Genesis 9:16 Why did God send the flood? What did God ask Noah to do? What was the promise God made to Noah after the flood? What does everyone deserve? What is God s gift? Genesis 6:5-8, 7:17-23, 9:11-16

4 DAY FIVE THE PROMISES TO ABRAHAM Starry sky I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:3 Why did Abram leave his home? Where did Abram go? What were God s promises to Abram? How could the whole world be blessed through Abram and his family? Genesis 12:1-7 DAY SIX JOSEPH Coloured coat We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 How did Joseph s brothers feel about him? What did they do? How did God use Joseph to save his people? What did Joseph know about God and his plan that helped him to forgive his brothers? Genesis 37:3-36, 45:3-13, 50:18-21 DAY SEVEN THE EXODUS The parted sea Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders. Exodus 15:11 Why were God s people in Egypt? What was God going to do? How did he do it? What did God reveal about himself? Exodus 1:6-7, 6:1-8, 12:31, 14:13-31 DAY EIGHT MOSES & THE TEN COMMANDMENTS Stone tablets The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4,5 What was written on the stone tablets? Who gave these laws to Moses? Why do God and our parents give us rules? How do God s rules help us live day by day? Exodus 32:15-16, 20:1-20

5 DAY NINE THE PROMISED LAND Fruits of the promised land Praise the Lord all my soul and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:2 What did the men discover about the land they explored? Did they go into the land straight away? Why/why not? Why was the promised land going to be such a great blessing for God s people? What are some of the ways God blesses us today? Numbers 13:1-2, 17-20, 26-33, 14:5-9, DAY TEN JOSHUA Trumpet Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give to them. Joshua 1:6 What was on the other side of the Jordan River? What did God tell Joshua and the Israelites they were not to forget? What was God about to do for his people? How did God fulfil his promise? Joshua 1:1-9, 4:19-24, 21:43-45 DAY ELEVEN KING DAVID Crown How great you are, O sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you. 2 Samuel 7:22 What was King David s background? What else do you know about David? What promise does God make to King David? What does David say God is like? 1 Samuel 16:1-13, 2 Samuel 7:8-16, DAY TWELVE JOSIAH Scroll Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 What happened to God s word before Josiah s time? What did King Josiah do when he found the book? Why should we read the Bible? How can the Bible be like a light to us? 2 Kings 22:11-13, 23:1-3

6 DAY THIRTEEN JUDGEMENT & EXILE Scales Therefore O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways. Repent! Ezekiel 18:30 What had the people of Israel failed to do? What was God s response to their actions? Why were God s people taken into exile? What was the significance of God s people being taken into exile? Isaiah 1:1-4, 2:12, 17-18, 2 Kings 25:8-12 DAY FOURTEEN RETURN Group of people I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture. Jeremiah 23:3 What is God like according to these verses? What promise does the Micah verse refer to? Why will God bring his people out of exile? Isaiah 54:7-8, Jeremiah 33:10-11, Micah 7:18-20 DAY FIFTEEN NEW COVENANT Heart I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33 Who is making the covenant? Whom is he making it with? What will God do? What is our part in this? Jeremiah 31:31-34 DAY SIXTEEN PROPHECY SHOOT FROM STUMP OF JESSE Shoot growing from stump A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse.. the Spirit of the Lord will be upon him. Isaiah 11:1,2 Isaiah 11:1-5, Matthew 1:1 Who was Jesse the father of? How is Jesse like a stump, and who is the new branch growing out of him? What will this person be like? Why does our world need a righteous judge like Jesus? How did Isaiah know about Jesus hundreds of years before he was born?

7 DAY SEVENTEEN PROPHECY - PRINCE OF PEACE Dove and crown A child is born to us! A son is given us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Might God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 What different names is Jesus called in these verses? In what ways does the world need a Prince of Peace? What things trouble you? How can Jesus bring peace to you? Isaiah 9:6-7, John 14:27 DAY EIGHTEEN PROPHECY - LION AND CALF Lion and calf Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with goats. Calves and lions will feed together, and little children will take care of them. Isaiah 11:6 Why will all the animals be able to play safely together? When will this happen? What do you think you will enjoy about heaven? Isaiah 11:6-10, Revelation 21:1-4 DAY NINETEEN PROPHECY GENTLE SHEPHERD Sheep and Shepherds crook He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers them in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11 What are some of the ways in which a shepherd cares for his sheep? How are we like sheep? How does Jesus act like a shepherd to us? Isaiah 40:10-11, Psalm 23:1-2, John 10:27 DAY TWENTY PROPHECY SUFFERING SERVANT Cross God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never die. John 3:16 What was God s plan for Jesus? Why did Jesus have to die? Why was Jesus willing to die? How should we respond to him? Isaiah 53, John 10:14-15

8 DAY TWENTY ONE PROPHECY BETHLEHEM Bethlehem skyline But you Bethlehem, though you are small, out of you will come one who will be ruler over Israel. Micah 5:2 What did the Old Testament prophets know about Jesus birth? How did they know? Where did Joseph live? Why did he have to go to Bethlehem? Isaiah 7:14, Luke 2:1-4 DAY TWENTY TWO ANGEL VISITS MARY Manger You will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. Luke 1:31 Who was Joseph a descendant of? Why was this important? What does the angel say about Jesus? What does the angel say Jesus will do? How does Mary respond to the angel s message? Luke 1:26-38 DAY TWENTY THREE ANNOUNCEMENT TO SHEPHERDS Angel Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God. Luke 2:14 What was the angel s message to the shepherds? What were the different reactions of the shepherds? Why was everyone amazed? How can we share the good news about Jesus like the shepherds did? Luke 2:8-20 DAY TWENTY FOUR WISE MEN FOLLOW STAR Star Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the East and have come to worship him. Matthew 2:2 Who saw the star in the east and why did they follow it? Did King Herod want to worship Jesus? What gifts did the visitors bring? Matthew 2:1-12

9 DAY TWENTY FIVE JESUS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD Candle I am the light of the world! Follow me, and you won t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life. John 8:12 What was Simeon waiting for? What did Simeon say about Jesus? How is Jesus the light for the whole world? How do we walk in the light that Jesus gives? Luke 2:25-32 spch.org.au Note: This material was written by John and Robyn Gray and is adapted from Kent and Barbara Hughes book Common Sense Parenting. St Paul s Castle Hill 421 Old Northern Rd Castle Hill 2154

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