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s itr raig, c pue ed s r n m d ai s pa es ei t n & ryr t o f avn o det r

The four Sundays preceding Christmas form a season in the church calendar called Advent, when Christians remember how God’s people waited for a savior. Many families find using a Jesse Tree helpful in centering their Advent celebration at home. These meditations are meant to guide prayer and discussion, but the focus is on the Scripture text itself. They are probably most appropriate for children 5-12, but you can modify them for use with younger children (shortening the passages or using story bibles). There are enough readings for when Advent stretches the longest (as in 2011) so some readings need to be doubled up (4.2-3, 4.4-5) or skipped in years where the season has fewer days. For more ideas in using these meditations and celebrating Advent at Home, flip to the final page.

DAY 1.1 // THE JESSE TREE // Isaiah 11:1-10 // Stump with Branch Advent is a season of waiting. We wait for Christmas. We remember the waiting of God’s people for a rescuer, for many long and lonely years. Even in the midst of the darkness and the waiting, God was faithful to his people. Our Jesse Tree is a way to remember that faithfulness, and to see how God was at work in our world, even before Christ’s advent. Did you know advent means coming? In the Old Testament, God’s people clung to the promise that a messiah would come to rescue them. And Jesus came: He lived, He died and He rose again. He conquered sin and death. But that is not the end of the story. Christ is coming again, to put all the world back to right. We are waiting, too. For a new heaven and a new earth without sorrow, pain, loneliness or hate. Like our passage described, we wait for a place where a wolf can dwell with a lamb. But that day hasn’t come yet. When we see all the brokenness in the world, it makes us long for Christ’s return. In what ways has this passage been fulfilled? What are we still waiting for? PRAY: For God to use our Jesse Tree to remind us of His faithfulness. For Christ to come and put all our world to right. For those who are suffering without the hope of Christ’s return, that they would learn of their savior who loves them. DAY 1.2 // CREATION // Genesis 1:1-2:3 // Earth There was nothing, God spoke, and it came to be. Everything He made was good. These images of creation fill our hearts with wonder: what would it be like to see the earth created, to see it burst alive with green, flowering plants, to watch it begin to teem with all manner of birds and fish and animals? God made everything, then last of all He made people. He made all of us special. The Bible says every one of us is made in His image. God gave us a special role, to lead. We can garden and plant crops for food. We can raise animals for food and to help us with all kinds of jobs, even to be our pets. Responsibility for the world is a big job. Taking care of God’s creation isn’t always easy, and we haven’t always done very well at it. But we are called to try. How does being made in God’s image make you feel? How can we be responsible for our world? PRAY: For God to help us remember that we are all made in His image. For all people to care well for the earth, and for us to work together to protect God’s creation. DAY 1.3 // THE FALL // Genesis 2:4-3:24 // Apple with Snake God gave Adam a wife to help him, and the most beautiful paradise to live in, but it didn’t last long. Adam and Eve had just one rule to obey: don’t eat the fruit from one tree. They had lots of other good fruit to choose from, and lots of other things to eat as well. The tempter came, and he made Eve doubt. By questioning God’s one rule, she was really wondering whether God loved her and wanted good for her. She listened to her doubts, broke the rule, ate the fruit, and so did Adam. Sometimes it is hard to believe that God loves us. It can be hard to believe that the rules are for our good. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, sin entered the world, and it changed everything. They had to leave the garden where they walked with God. Things stopped being the way they were meant to be, because sin breaks everything. How have you seen the way sin makes things NOT the way they ought to be? How does reading about Adam and Eve’s sin make you feel?


PRAY: For God to heal our world of all the brokenness sin has brought. For each of us to truly believe that God loves us, cares for us, and knows what is best for us. DAY 1.4 // THE FLOOD & RESTORATION // Genesis 6:11-14; 7:17-8:3; 9:8-13 // Ark with Rainbow Evil spread through the human race like wildfire, the world was filled with wicked men doing violent things and God’s heart was broken with sorrow at how far His creation had fallen. One man stood apart, a man of righteousness and integrity named Noah. So God told Noah He was making a clean sweep and that he should build an ark for his family and some of every kind of animal on the earth. Can you imagine? Trusting God enough to build a giant boat in the middle of the desert? But Noah did just as God commanded. Noah and his family boarded the ark, took care of the animals, waited for many months for the flood waters to recede, and when they put their feet on dry land, God made them a covenant promise to never flood the world again. Marking His promise in the sky, He left them with the sign of a rainbow. What do you think it would have been like to be one of Noah’s children? What do you think rainbows should remind us of today? PRAY: For God to give us great faith like Noah, to be people of integrity who do what’s right even if those around us don’t. For each of us to trust God enough to live in obedience. DAY 1.5 // GOD’S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM // Genesis 12:1-7; 15:1-6; 21:1-7 // Under Stars Abraham left everything, his home and everything he had known, to go somewhere; he wasn’t even told where exactly. And Abraham did that to follow a God who kept telling him his family was going to be big and important. But Abraham and his wife Sarah didn’t even have any children! God kept promising Abraham he’d have a great family, even as he and his wife grieved over the children they’d never had. They got older and older and older. Until finally, when Sarah heard about God’s promise, she just laughed. It seemed crazy to think that she’d have her first baby when most of her friends were great grandmothers! Against all the odds, Abraham had faith in God, that He would do what He said He would do. Like God is prone to do, He used a faithful person in a remarkable situation to show His love and His power. Sarah and Abraham did have that baby, when she was 90 years old, and he was 100. God kept His promise. What are God’s promises to us? How are they hard to believe? PRAY: For God to give us faith like Abraham, to believe even when it’s difficult. For those who don’t yet believe to be shown God’s love and power. DAY 1.6 // THE OFFERING OF ISAAC // Genesis 22:1-19 // Ram Abraham and Sarah loved Isaac, their miracle child for whom they had waited so long. Like loving parents do, they enjoyed watching him grow and learn as he journeyed towards manhood. Out of nowhere one day, God told Abraham to take his only son, the son he waited a hundred years to have, and kill him to offer as a sacrifice to God. And Abraham gathered up his things and set off to do it. We know the rest of the story, how God provided the ram for the sacrifice instead, that He was just testing Abraham. But Abraham journeyed for three days with Isaac up to the mountain, not knowing how things would turn out. It took until the very last minute for God to show His mercy and His plan. Do you ever feel tested by God? Have you had a moment where you saw “the rest of the story” of how God was at work? PRAY: For God to give us faith like Abraham, to follow Him when we don’t understand what he’s doing. For all those who are struggling with great burdens to be delivered from them by our God who provides.


DAY 1.7 // ASSURANCE OF THE PROMISE TO JACOB // Genesis 28:1-5, 10-22 // Ladder Jacob was making a long journey to his uncle’s land, feeling all alone because he had fought with his brother, tricked him, and was running for his very life. When Jacob lay down to sleep he had a magnificent dream, a dream that showed him how close he was to God. God told him the land he slept on was holy ground and it would belong to his family, the great family of Abraham who would be a blessing to the world. This was a turning point for Jacob, part of his path from outlaw and deceiver to someone who had been changed by God’s love. Jacob was a man who knew God’s presence and felt His call and care. God even changed his name, from Jacob (the grabber) to Israel (God-wrestler), because he had striven with God and had prevailed. Have you ever felt God’s presence in the midst of loneliness? How has God changed you? PRAY: For God to reveal Himself to us, for our encounters with the living God to change us and make us more like Him, to believe that God still cares for sinners and outcasts. DAY 2.1 // GOD’S PROVIDENCE TO JOSEPH // Gen. 37:1-36; 45:4-15 // Coat of Many Colors Joseph’s brothers were jealous of all the attention he got, of his special gifts, and it’s hard to really blame them, until they consider killing him and end up selling him into slavery. What a terrible thing to do to your own brother! The rest of what happens to Joseph in Egypt is more drama, working his way up the ranks, being lied about, getting thrown into prison, interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, getting promoted to the right hand man of the ruler of the land… it’s quite a story! Instead of feeling sorry for himself because of all the bad things that had happened, Joseph saw that God was at work. God used his brothers’ selling him into slavery to get him to Egypt, God used his time in prison to eventually bring him to Pharaoh, God used all of his experiences to save Joseph’s family from starvation. Have you experienced how a difficult circumstance was used by God? PRAY: For God to give us spirits of thankfulness in all circumstances, that we would be reminded that God is always at work in our lives, for God to continue to use us in His great story of redemption as He draws more people to Himself. DAY 2.2 // GOD MAKES A LEADER OUT OF MOSES // Exodus 2:1-4:20 // Burning Bush Things had gotten bad in Egypt. The great family God promised to Abraham and Jacob and delivered from the famine ended up as slaves. The pharaoh had ordered all the baby boys of the Israelites to be killed. But God had a plan. He used Moses, a boy hidden in a basket, found by Pharaoh’s own daughter. God brought Moses to a far off land, spoke to him through a burning bush, and what did Moses say? Send someone else! Even though it wasn’t what he wanted to do, Moses headed back to Egypt, believing that God could lead His people out of slavery. Can you think of a time where it was hard to follow God & you wanted Him to use someone else? PRAY: For God to give us hearts to listen and obey His call, that we would believe that God has a plan and is using us as He works in our world, for God to deliver those in slavery and bondage around the world today. DAY 2.3 // PASSOVER AND EXODUS // Exodus 12:1-39; 13:17-15:1 // Red Sea Parting Killing lambs, spreading blood, hoping for the angel of death to pass over your home and spare the oldest boy, listening to the screams of families discovering a beloved child is dead… It’s hard to even imagine. Racing to pack up your belongings, marching out into the wilderness, hearing the army pursuing you in the distance, watching a sea part right in front of you, walking through walls of water. These experiences seem so foreign to us, but this is one of the most pivotal stories in all of God’s story, one we see shadows of everywhere else. When we participate in the Lord’s supper, we remember that the first communion was a Passover meal. We need a sacrifice in order for justice to pass over us. We need to be delivered from all sorts of things that enslave us. The extraordinary story of the exodus reminds us of all the stories of God’s deliverance and the ways He will continue to deliver us.


Can you think of other stories in the Bible that connect to the Passover and the Exodus? PRAY: For God to give us hearts that remember how He has saved his people, for God to deliver those in slavery and bondage around the world today. DAY 2.4 // GOD GIVES THE LAW // Exodus 19:1-20:20 // 10 Commandment Tablets When we want to hear from God, we open His word or we bow our heads to pray. For the people of Israel, God was much farther off. When they got to Mount Sinai, they had to prepare to meet Him. Moses went to the mountain, and no one else could even touch it. But they saw the lightning and the smoke, heard the thunder, and they knew God was there. God’s presence made them afraid. They wanted to follow what He said to do, but only because they had experienced His mighty power. Hearing the cries of their neighbors at their lost sons and then watching their Egyptian pursuers being engulfed by the sea must have made God seem scary. But God had told the Israelites that He had chosen them out of all the people in the world, that they were special to Him. It would take time for them to understand God’s great, unstoppable love for them. Do you ever want to obey because you fear what will happen if you don’t? PRAY: For God to remind us that we are special to Him. To know that the rules God gives us are for our good. For our obedience to come out of love, and not fear. DAY 2.5 // GENTILES HEAR OF GOD’S MIGHTY POWER // Joshua 1:1-9; 2:1-21 // Rope After wandering in the wilderness for forty years, God told Joshua that the time has come to go into the promised land. So Joshua sent spies into the land, and they met a woman named Rahab. Most people wouldn’t look at Rahab and think she was a holy person. But Rahab, like her neighbors in Jericho, had heard about God’s mighty power and how He helped His people. And so she begged the spies to spare her family. She knew what God could do to her city, and she believed also that God could protect her like He protected his people. In faith, Rahab asked to be saved. In faith, she hung out her red rope. And God saw her faith, and not only did He spare her, we learn later that she becomes part of God’s great family, marrying an Israelite and having a son named Boaz, who was the great grandfather of King David, which makes her a part of Jesus’ own genealogy! Do you think someone could look at your life and see God’s power displayed? PRAY: For great faith like Rahab and boldness to ask for help. For our lives to show God’s loving hand of guidance to everyone around us. DAY 2.6 // FALL OF JERICHO // Joshua 6:1-25 // Ram’s Horn Trumpet God had promised to give the Israelites the city of Jericho, but they weren’t sure they would win in a battle. Then God told them his plan: marching around the city, blowing trumpets and shouting. Not exactly a typical plan for war! With boldness and courage, the Israelites obeyed God, and they did as Joshua said. Out of the grumbling, wandering and disobedience of their time in the wilderness, they were delivered into the promised land. The Lord had given them the city and all of its wealth. Have you ever had to be bold and courageous to obey God? What might that look like? PRAY: For the faith to believe that God always has a plan. For courage and boldness in our faith to obey like the Israelites, even when we don’t understand God’s plan. DAY 2.7 // GOD SENDS A REDEEMER // Ruth 1:15-2:3; 2:11-16; 4:13-17 // Grain Naomi and Ruth had lost all their male relatives, and were alone. Naomi tried to encourage her daughter-in-law Ruth to go back to her own parents’ house, but Ruth wanted to remain with Naomi, and vowed her great loyalty and faith. And so


they went back together to Naomi’s hometown of Bethlehem, gathering bits of grain left behind by fieldworkers to make their bread each day, as they had no land or husbands to provide for them. In the middle of their need, God provided for them. Naomi’s relative, Boaz, heard of Ruth’s great faith and devotion to Naomi, and made sure that they had enough food each day. Her character was so beautiful to Boaz that he ended up marrying Ruth. And she became the great-grandmother of the David, Israel’s king. How can we trust God like Ruth? How can we show mercy like Boaz? PRAY: For us to show the loyalty and commitment of Ruth with great faith and the kindness of Boaz toward those who are in need. DAY 3.1 // A KINGDOM BEGINS // 1 Sam 3:1-21; 7:1-10; 8:1-22 // Crown Samuel was just a boy when God spoke to him, and made him the Lord’s prophet. God used prophets and judges to lead His people, the Israelites. They reminded the Israelites of the truth and helped them to follow God, just like Samuel led the people in repentance. But the Israelites didn’t want prophets and judges, led by a God they could not see. They wanted a king, like the other nations. The Lord saw the way the people of Israel rejected Him as their king, and He told Samuel to give them a solemn warning about what life would be like under a human king. Samuel told them how a king would take their best things and leave them frustrated. But God granted what they wanted anyway, and Samuel crowned Saul Israel’s first king. What would it be like to hear God like Samuel? Have you ever wanted something other people had, like Israel wanted a king? PRAY: For us to listen and obey God like Samuel. For us to repent of our sinfulness and follow God wholeheartedly. For us to want God’s will to be done more than our own. DAY 3.2 // GOD GIVES A SHEPHERD // 1 Sam 16:1-13; 17:19-58; 2 Sam 5:1-5 // Shepherd’s Crook God told Samuel to find Israel’s next king among Jesse’s sons. Samuel assumed, like most people at that time, it would be the oldest, or at least the strongest son. But God told Samuel that man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart, and God choose Jesse’s youngest son, David. Then God gave David a chance to show his character to Israel when he fought Goliath. The people were afraid. The soldiers would not fight. But David trusted God. He remembered how God had delivered him from lions and bears, and he had faith God would deliver Goliath into his hands. David declared that the battle was the Lord’s and that God would triumph, and He did. After Saul died, David became the next king of Israel. Are you ever tempted to judge someone from your first impressions? How can you trust God like David? PRAY: For us to judge not by outward appearances, but to love people and seek to know them well enough to see their hearts. For God to give us great faith and to show us that the battle is the Lord’s, it’s not all on our shoulders. DAY 3.3 // FALSE GODS FAIL // 1 Kings 17:8-24; 18:17-39 // Stone Altar with Fire The first time we hear about God’s prophet, Elijah, the Lord tells him to go to a place called Zarephath, where God has commanded a woman to feed him. He meets a poor widow at the gates of the city and she says she barely has enough to feed herself and her son. But Elijah tells her that her little jar of flour and her little jug of oil will not be empty, and God fills them over and over, providing for their need. Then her son gets sick and dies. Elijah prays and he comes back to life! Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, has followed idols and false priests instead of God. The rain stopped falling and the nation suffered a terrible drought, their crops would not grow. So when they see each other, Elijah challenges Ahab to gather his priests and the people of Israel and meet up at a mountain, where he shows them God’s mighty power by doing amazing acts in the name of the Lord. And the people fell on their faces and worshipped, believing that the Lord was God. What other people does Elijah remind you of? How does Elijah convince the people of Israel to turn back to God?


PRAY: For God to help us to speak truth and be faithful, like Elijah. When we don’t believe, help us to repent and turn back to God. DAY 3.4 // GOD’S CALL // Jonah 1-3 // Whale Like a lot of our Jesse Tree readings, this one starts with God telling someone to do something. But instead of obeying God, Jonah runs in the other direction. Jonah thought if he got on a ship going another way, he could escape the presence of the Lord. But God doesn’t leave Jonah, and He doesn’t forget the call He gave him. God causes a giant storm, so mighty that all the sailors are afraid they will die. Jonah knows the storm is from God, and he encourages the sailors to throw him overboard. You know what happens, Jonah got swallowed by a great fish. He spent three days and three nights in its belly, then he prayed to God, and the fish spit him out onto the dry land. He went to Nineveh and told them the message God gave to him. The people turned from their evil ways, and God did not destroy their city. Are you ever tempted to do the opposite of what you are supposed to do? How did God respond to Jonah’s prayer of repentance? How did He respond to the repentance of Nineveh? PRAY: For us to obey God’s call. When we fall short, to have hearts of repentance to turn back to God. DAY 3.5 // GOD DESIRES HOLINESS, PROMISES DELIVERANCE // Isaiah 1:10-20; 8:11-9:7 // Candle There were many evil kings like Ahab, who ruled Israel and Judah. They led the people away from God’s ways. So God sent prophets like Isaiah to remind His people of the truth. “Stop doing evil, learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s case… though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” The prophets gave the people hope in the darkness. The Lord reminded them of His promise to rescue them and give them real peace. But they could not continue in their evil ways, they needed to turn toward God, and worship Him. What sorts of things might a prophet tell God’s people (the church) today? PRAY: For our hearts to seek the Lord first, to seek justice in this world as we wait for the real peace of the new heavens and the new earth. DAY 3.6 // THE EXILE // Jer. 2:4-13; 7:1-15; 9:7-11 // Tears There were a few good kings who led God’s people well, like Josiah. But most of the kings were wicked. They led God’s people in wickedness, ignoring the real God to worship idols and they turned away again and again. God’s prophet Jeremiah tried to remind the people of all God had done for them, of the power and glory they were rejecting. But they would not listen. So God let the king of Babylon capture the city of Jerusalem, and he burned the city, and the Temple and the palace. God’s people were sent into exile, away from the land God gave them, and the Lord wept along with His people. What did God want His people to do? PRAY: For our hearts to be soft to God’s correction, to always remember all that God has done for us. DAY 3.7 // WAITING // Habakkuk 2:1-4; 3:16-19; Ezekiel 37:1-14 // Watchtower With God’s people in exile, their faith began to grow. They feared the Lord because they knew His power. The people knew that it was their sin which had caused the exile and they believed that God could deliver them and redeem them. Instead of believing in their own power, they knew only God could return them to the land He had given them. Habakkuk prophesied right at the time of the exile that God would not let the Babylonians rule forever. He told the people of God that even if He seemed slow, they needed to wait for God. During the exile, God gave Ezekiel a vision of dry bones coming to life, of His Spirit giving them life and placing them back in their land. He promised that He would do it. How are we waiting like God’s people in the exile? What’s different for us?


PRAY: For us to wait for God’s perfect timing and trust in His plan. For difficulties in our lives to make us follow God more closely and to believe more deeply. DAY 4.1 // RETURN & REBUILDING // Nehemiah 1:1-2:8; 2:17-20; 6:15-16 // City Wall With God’s help, some of His people had returned to their land and rebuilt the temple. But without a wall around the city protecting them, they were vulnerable to attacks from all the other nations around them. Nehemiah was a servant to the king of Persia, who had conquered the Babylonians and was the most powerful empire around. He heard about the broken wall, and he was brokenhearted. The king gave his faithful servant Nehemiah permission to return to Jerusalem, and the timber to rebuild the walls. So the people of God worked 52 days, facing enemies who threatened them, but believing that God would fight for them. When the wall was finished, their enemies knew that God had helped them. How does the story of Nehemiah encourage us? PRAY: That we would bring our requests to God, for God to get the glory when we accomplish great things. DAY 4.2 // ANTICIPATION & JOY // Luke 1:5-25, 39-66 // Pen and Tablet Like Abraham and Sarah, Zachariah and Elizabeth were older people who loved and served God, but had no children. When an angel of the Lord told Zachariah that Elizabeth would have a son, a man great before the Lord and filled with the Holy Spirit, Zachariah could hardly believe it. He was made unable to speak when he left the temple. Mary comes to visit, and John shows, even in the womb, his understanding of how special Jesus would be. When John is born, everyone rejoices with Elizabeth, for God has given the barren, old woman a child, and they wondered how God would use this special little boy. At his circumcision, everyone assumes the baby will be named for his dad, but Elizabeth told them all his name was John, and Zachariah agreed, writing it out on a tablet. Immediately, Zachariah began to speak again, praising God. And everyone knew the hand of God was upon little John. What made everyone think John was so special? PRAY: That we would recognize Jesus, as John did even before he was born. That we would rejoice with our neighbors when we see God at work. DAY 4.3 // JOHN CALLS FOR REPENTANCE // Luke 1:67-80, 3:1-17 // Seashell Like all the prophets we have read about, John had a special job and a special message for God’s people. He prepared the way of the Lord, calling people to repent and receive forgiveness for their sins. They didn’t see all the ways that they sat in darkness that John told them about. Instead of just condemning them, John also gave them hope, and baptized them as a sign of their repentance. Even though the crowds wondered if he might be the promised messiah come to rescue them, John never forgot that his job was to point to Jesus, who would follow him. What sort of things did John tell God’s people to do? PRAY: For hearts that repent and for our repentance to bear fruit in how we live. DAY 4.4 // MARY’S FAITH // Luke 1:26-38 // Heart Mary was an ordinary girl who had great faith in God. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph; she thought she’d live a simple life as the carpenter’s wife and mother to his children. The most extraordinary thing happened to her: she was visited by an angel who told her that she would give birth to a child conceived by the Holy Spirit! At just the sight of the angel, she trembled with fear, and at his words she was so confused. But she believed the words of the angel, “nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary answered him, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord” and hoped it would turn out just like he said.


What other stories from our Jesse Tree readings does this remind you of? How is Mary a good example of faith? PRAY: For faith to trust God like Mary did. To see the way God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways. DAY 4.5 // JOSEPH’S TRUST // Matthew 1:19-25 // Hammer Joseph, like Mary, was an ordinary man with great faith in God. And when he discovered the woman he was engaged to was pregnant, he was sad, but he resolved to do what he thought would be best for both of them, not wanting her to endure any shame. But Joseph was also visited by an angel, who explained to him in a dream that this baby was special. The baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit to fulfill a prophecy, and he was going to save God’s people from their sins. And so he trusted God, and he trusted Mary. He married her, and the humble carpenter served as earthly father to Jesus, savior of the world. How was Joseph’s experience different than Mary’s? PRAY: For faith like Joseph, to trust God even when circumstances change your plans. DAY 4.6 // BIRTH OF OUR RESCUER // Luke 2:1-20 // Manger The savior of the world has come! Born to a teenage girl, in a stable in Bethlehem, far from her home. Not exactly the sort of setting anyone would expect. And yet, the angel appeared and told the shepherds working late at night of the good news and great joy: Christ the Lord, the messiah they had been waiting for, was born! All of the sudden the sky filled with angels, singing a song of praise to God and peace to men. The shepherds raced into town, and found the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, just as the angels had said. The lowly shepherds and humble Mary and Joseph all rejoiced at what God had done. Mary and Joseph quietly praised God, and the shepherds to anyone who would hear their amazing tale. And everyone who did hear the story wondered, could this be the one the prophets told us about, that we have been waiting for? How do you think God’s people expected their rescuer to come? What would it be like to be with the shepherd that night? PRAY: For faith like the shepherds, who saw, believed and worshipped. For peace on earth, goodwill among men. DAY 4.7 // THE SON OF GOD // John 1:1-18 // Chi-Rho Unlike the shepherds, we don’t have to wonder if Jesus has really come to rescue us. We know the rest of the story, about His life and ministry, about His death and resurrection, about His ascension into heaven and how He will return again. We know He is the Word, the light that shines in the darkness. We know Jesus is God incarnate, who became flesh and dwelt among us, fully God and fully man. All who receive Him, who believe in His name, become children of God. The story of God’s people becomes our story, too. We have seen His glory and have received grace upon grace. O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. How do the other Jesse Tree stories show us the truth explained in John 1? PRAY: Thank God for sending Jesus to rescue us and for making us his children.



Day 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6

Person Introduction God Adam & Eve Noah Abraham Isaac Jacob Joseph Moses Israelites God Rahab Joshua Ruth Samuel David Elijah Jonah Isaiah Jeremiah

Theme The Jesse Tree Creation The Fall Flood & Restoration The Promise Offering of Isaac Assurance of the Promise God’s Providence God’s Leadership Passover & Exodus Giving of the Law Gentiles Hear of God’s Mighty Power Fall of Jericho God Sends a Redeemer A Kingdom Begins God Gives a Shepherd False Gods Fail God’s Call God Desires Holiness, Promises Deliverance The Exile

Passages Isaiah 11:1-10 Genesis 1:1-2:3 Genesis 2:4-3:24 Genesis 6:11-14; 7:17-8:3; 9:8-13 Genesis 12:1-7; 15:1-6; 21:1-7 Genesis 22:1-19 Genesis 28:1-5, 10-22 Gen. 37:1-36; 45:4-15 Exodus 2:1-4:20 Exodus 12:1-51; 13:1715:1 Exodus 19:1-20:20 Joshua 1:1-9; 2:1-21 Joshua 6:1-25 Ruth 1:15-2:3; 2:11-16; 4:13-17 1 Sam 3:1-21; 7:1-10; 8:1-22 1 Sam 16:1-13; 17:19-58; 2 Sam 5:1-5 1 Kings 17:8-24; 18:17-39 Jonah 1-3 Isaiah 1:10-20; 8:11-9:7 Jer. 2:4-13; 7:1-15; 9:7-11

Symbol Stump with Branch Earth Apple with Serpent Ark with Rainbow Cradle under Field of Stars Ram Ladder Coat of Many Colors Burning Bush Red Sea Parting Tablets of the Torah Rope Ram’s Horn Trumpet Grain Crown Shepherd’s Crook Stone Altar with Fire Whale Candle Tears

Day 3.7 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Person Habakkuk Nehemiah Zachariah & Elizabeth Waiting Return and Rebuilding Anticipation & Joy Theme Passages Habakkuk 2:1-4; 3:16-19 Ezekiel 37:1-14 Neh 1:1-2:8; 2:17-20 6:1516 Luke 1:5-25, 39-66 Luke 1:67-80, 3:1-17 Luke 1:26-38 Matthew 1:19-25 Luke 2:1-20 John 1:1-18 Symbol Watchtower City Wall Pencil & Tablet Seashell Heart Hammer Manger Chi-Rho

John the Baptist John Calls for Repentance Mary Joseph Jesus Christ Faith for a Future Trust Birth of our Rescuer The Son of God

In our family, we use the symbols as ornaments and hang them on a small tree or on branches gathered in a vase. Currently we have a set of embroidered linen ornaments, but we’ve also used hand-drawn ones and reductions of coloring pages. It’s not the emphasis, but it can be a fun element. We generally light the candle(s) in our Advent wreath, sing an Advent hymn like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” or “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People” and then do our readings and prayer. For more ideas for celebrating advent at home, you can check my blog and search for Advent. If you have any questions or comments about this project, I’d welcome them at May the hope of Advent encourage you throughout the year.