Friday, December 25, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 29, Jesus, the Gift of God's Love

Scripture: Luke 2:6-21 

Symbol: Star

Reading: Our waiting is over! Jesus is born! The star is shining, the angels are singing, the shepherds are worshiping. Our savior is here!
Mary was happy to have her beautiful baby, but she knew that not every day would be as special as his birth day. She knew that raising God's son was going to be a challenge. But for the moment she tried to enjoy all the amazing things that had happened.
When sin first came into the world, God made a promise. Even when the people forgot about God and the promise, God didn't forget about the people. God guided the people, protected the people, and loved the people, even when they were sinful. God was faithful, and today the promise is fulfilled.

Talk about: What is your favorite part of the Christmas story? 

Prayer: Thank you, God of the universe, for the most wonderful gift of your son, Jesus.

Activity: After opening presents, ask each child to tell what their favorite gift was. Ask them why. Then talk to them about how Jesus coming into the world was the best present we could receive.  



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 28, Journey to Bethlehem

Scripture: Luke 2:1-7 

Symbol: Donkey or Sandals (if using RCA symbols)

Reading: Sometimes taking a trip is fun, like when we go on vacation. Sometimes it's not so fun, like when we go to the doctor when we're sick. But usually when we're on a journey, whether a short trip or a long one, we experience something new. We learn things on a journey.
Mary and Joseph went on a journey. If we were to take the same journey by car it wouldn't take very long, but because Mary and Joseph were walking, it took a long time. They had to go to Bethlehem because the country's ruler said they had to. But it was all part of God's plan. That is one thing that Joseph and Mary learned on their journey.

Talk about: What new journeys or trips did you take this past year? 

Prayer: Guide our journeys wherever they take us, holy God.

Activity: Make a “stable” using blankets and chairs aka: a fort. Make it big enough that the whole family could fit inside. Read a Christmas book about Jesus’ birth together.




*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 27, Joseph's Part of God's Plan

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25 

Symbol: Tools

Reading: Yesterday we talked about Jesus' mother, Mary. Jesus also had an earthly father named Joseph, who was a carpenter.
God sent an angel to talk to Joseph in a dream. The angel explained that God had chosen Mary, and that Mary's baby would be very special. When Joseph woke up, he knew that he and Mary were a part of God's plan. Joseph knew that he would be a good father to Jesus.

Talk about: Name some ways that God speaks to us. 

Prayer: God who calls us, help us to hear your voice.


Activity: Joseph was a carpenter. As Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph would have taught Jesus how to be a carpenter as well. Have Dad show each child something with carpentry. Either sawing a board, hammering a nail or screwing a screw. Maybe work together to make something? Have your children imagine Jesus and Joseph working side by side. What are some things Joseph might have taught Jesus to make?


*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 26, Mary's Joyful Heart

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38 

Symbol: Heart

Reading: God had a special job for someone. God was looking for an earthly home for baby Jesus. Jesus was going to need a mother who loved and trusted God. He would need a mother who was smart and strong and loving. God chose Mary to be Jesus' mother.
God sent an angel to talk to Mary. Mary wasn't sure that she could be a good mother to Jesus, but the angel reminded Mary that God would be with her. Mary knew that being a mother is a difficult and important job, but she knew that God would guide her. She also knew that she loved God and wanted to do whatever she could to serve him. Mary said yes with a joyful heart.

Talk about: Talk about some things that have happened to you or others that seem impossible. 

Prayer: Thank you, God, that nothing is impossible with you.


Activity: Go with mom into the kitchen and help make a special holiday snack. Talk about what it is like to have a mom and what kinds of things moms do for their kids. What things would Mary have done for Jesus?




*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Monday, December 21, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 25, Preparing the Way

Scripture: Isaiah 40:3-5; Luke 3:15-16 

Symbol: Sandals or Shell (if using RCA symbols)

Reading: Elizabeth and Zechariah's son grew up to be John the Baptist. He was Jesus' cousin. God chose him to tell the people about Jesus.
John wanted people to know that Jesus is the Son of God, the savior that God had promised the people so many years ago. He wanted them to be ready to believe in Jesus. John wanted the people to remember God, and he baptized them in the river if they promised not to sin any more. The baptism reminded them that God forgave them for their sins.
John did not look like other people, and some people probably thought he was a little strange. But many other people listened to John, and they were ready to believe in Jesus.

Talk about: What do you need forgiveness for today? 

Prayer: Holy God, forgive us when we do things that displease you. Make our hearts ready for Jesus.

Activity: Get everyone together and tell them you are going to race. “who can be the first person ready for _____.” Have them race and then come back. You can do swimming and have them find a towel, or swimsuit. Soccer and they need cleats or a uniform. Bed and they need pajamas or a pillow. Play this as many times as they are still enjoying it.
Talk about why it is important to be prepared. God sent John the Baptist to help people get ready for Jesus. Many people came to John to be baptized, confessing their sins and preparing their hearts for Jesus. During this advent, what do we need to be doing to prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming?



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 24, Sharing What God Has Done

Scripture: Luke 1:5-25

Symbol: Zechariah or Man & Woman

Reading: Sometimes even good people have prayers that are not answered. Zechariah and Elizabeth honored God, and God loved them, but they did not have a child. One day while Zechariah was working in the temple, an angel brought him a message from God, saying that he and Elizabeth were going to have a very special son and his name was going to be John.
Zechariah wasn't sure he believed the angel, and so God took away Zechariah's voice as a sign of God's power. Imagine if you had seen an angel who had told you wonderful, happy news, and you weren't able to tell anyone what had happened! Zechariah was sad to have lost his voice, but he was happy to know that he would have a son chosen by God to do important work.

Talk about: How can you tell others about what God has done for you? 

Prayer: Almighty God, give us the courage to tell everyone about your good works.

Activity: We look at pictures of family and friends who are not with us. Talk about how important they are to us and how we miss them. Pray for them. Remember the story of how Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted a family. Praise Jesus for the family we have and thank him for the people he has surrounded us with.




*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 23, Waiting and Watching

Scripture: Habbakuk 2:1-4 

Symbol: Watch Tower

Reading: Christmas is less than a week away! Waiting is so hard! But we know that Christmas will eventually come, and our waiting will be over. We wait for so many things, some of them happy and some of them not so happy. Waiting means we are looking ahead to the future.
Before Jesus was born, the people were waiting for a savior. They had faith that God would keep his promise. They waited a long time; some of them forgot to keep looking for God's promised son. They no longer cared about God or God's promise, and when Jesus arrived they didn't recognize him. But those who remembered and trusted God recognized Jesus and their waiting was finally over.

Talk about: Tell about a time when you had to wait for something special. 

Prayer: God of all time, be with us as we wait for the birth of your son.

Activity: Get some presents out. Have your kids help carry them to where they will be for the next week. (with little ones, make sure they are able to be seen but not able to be reached!) Talk about how we have to wait one week until we open them. Tell them that every time they think about wanting to open them to remember the story today about the Israelites waiting for their Savior.


*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Friday, December 18, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 22, Scary Sleep Over

Scripture: Daniel 6 

Symbol: Lion

Reading: God wants to be the most important thing in our lives: more important than our family, more important than our things, more important than even our own lives. Daniel understood that; he worshiped God even though it might cost him everything, even his own life.
It was against the law for Daniel to worship God, but Daniel knew that God is the only true God, and he would not stop worshiping God. Daniel was punished for breaking the law, and he was put in a pit with lions. But God protected Daniel from becoming the lions' dinner. People learned of God's power because of Daniel, and many others worshiped God because Daniel had trusted and honored God.

Talk about: Who do you love the most?

Prayer: Savior God, it is not always easy to love you more than anything else. Help us to trust and honor you each day.


Activity: Camp out, either outside or in the living room. OR go into a dark room with your kids. Talk about how Daniel had to spend the whole night in the cave with the lions. When Daniel was scared he prayed to God for help. We can trust that God will help us if we ask Him.

The boys on our overnight safari trip, we really did sleep with the lions!
(well, we slept in the tent, but they did walk through the camp at 4am)


*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 21, Special Job

Scripture: Esther 4 

Symbol: Scepter

Reading: God is at work in everything. Sometimes things don't seem to make any sense to us at all, but later we understand why God put us in a certain place at a certain time.
Esther was a beautiful woman, and because she was beautiful she became queen. But because she was brave, she saved the Jewish people from death. Esther's uncle told her of the danger to her and to her people, and he helped her to plan how to save the people. At first she didn't think she could help, but her uncle reminded her that everyone is important.
God had put Esther in the palace for a special job. Her bravery saved many lives.

Talk about: Does God have a special job for you? 

Prayer: All-knowing God, open our eyes to the special plans you have for us.

Activity: Have them act out different professions and everyone else guess the profession. See who can guess the profession. What do your kids want to be when they grow up? Ask them to share what they want to do and why. 
Remind your kids that God wants to use them in ways they can’t yet imagine. God will place them where He wants them and will give them a special job for Him.


*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 20, Little Town of Bethlehem

Scripture: Micah 5:1-5a, Matthew 2:4-6 

Symbol: City

Reading: Often God does things that surprise us. God chose the small town of Bethlehem for the birthplace of Jesus. In Bible times, most rulers in important families were born in bigger cities, but Jesus was born into an ordinary family in a small village.
God chose Bethlehem many years before Jesus was born. The prophet Micah wrote that Bethlehem would be the place where the Savior would be born. But even so, the town of Bethlehem wasn't ready for the birth of Jesus. There was no place prepared for God's Son to be born.
The day when we celebrate Jesus' birth will soon be here. We need to make our hearts ready. 

Talk about: How are you getting ready for Jesus' birth? 

Prayer: Eternal God, help us to always be ready to serve you.


Activity: Have your family line up from smallest to biggest. Talk about how even if you are small, God has big plans for you. God also had big plans for Bethlehem. Point out that He chose Bethlehem to be the birthplace of Jesus. And to make sure everyone know what a big deal his was, He talked about it in the book of Micah, hundreds of years before it happened. God uses ordinary people and places in big ways! Sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” together.

Please excuse our dirtiness, we are little boys who love to play :)


*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Jesse Tree: Day 19, God's Plan for Peace

* this is for December 15th but didn't get posted as I had planned.

Scripture: Isaiah 11:6-9, Matthew 5:9 

Symbol: Lamb and Wolf

Reading: Animals are one of God's great gifts to us. God made each animal unique. Many of them are gentle, but many others can hurt us or other animals. Most animals only hurt others when they are hungry or frightened.
Before Eve and Adam sinned, all of the animals got along with each other. There was no danger. God created a peaceful kingdom, but sin changed things. Someday God will restore peace to the world. There will be no hunger or fear, and all of the animals will get along again. They will not hurt each other, and we will not hurt them.
In a peaceful world, all of God's children will get along too. There will be no more war and no more pain. What a wonderful world that will be!

Talk about: How can you be a peacemaker? 

Prayer: Loving God, help us find ways to have peace in our world. 

Activity: Visit an animal or animals today. Maybe it will just be sitting with the family dog, or maybe going to a zoo or safari. Talk about how God made the animals and how someday God will restore peace to the world.




*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Monday, December 14, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 18, Running From God

Scripture:  Jonah 3:1-5 

Symbol: Whale

Reading: Jonah was one of God's special preachers, called a prophet. God asked Jonah to do a special and important job. But Jonah didn't want to do the job God asked him to do, and so he ran away.
Of course, God always knew where Jonah went; no one can run away from God. God was with Jonah in the storm- tossed ship, and God was with Jonah in the belly of the fish. God was with Jonah when he finally went to Nineveh to do the job God had asked Jonah to do.
We can't run away from God. God wants us to obey him, but even when we don't, God is still with us. God loves us at all times and in all places.

Talk about: Have you ever tried to hide from God? 

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for watching over us in all things.

Activity: Play hide and seek together a few rounds. Ask your kids if they think they could find a hiding spot where you could never find them. Sit together and ask them, “was Jonah able to hide from God?” and “Why did Jonah try to hide from God?”
Discuss how we can never hide from God. Jesus came down from Heaven to be with us. He loves us so much and wants to be with us.



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 17, Showing God's Power

Scripture: 1 Kings 18:17-24, 36-39 

Symbol: Fire and Altar

Reading: The people of Israel had forgotten to worship God. Instead, they were worshiping a false god named Baal. God sent his prophet Elijah to remind the people about the true God. But the people didn't want to listen to Elijah. So Elijah offered to show the people God's power. He prepared a sacrifice, and the prophets of Baal prepared a sacrifice. The prophets of Baal prayed that their god would send fire to burn the sacrifice, but of course the false god did nothing. But when Elijah prayed, God sent fire.
The Israelites had forgotten God, until God showed them a miracle. God still does miracles today, but we need to remember God even if we don't see miracles. Our God is a great God; we need to praise God at all times.

Talk about: What are some things you can do to praise God?

Prayer: We praise you, powerful God, for all that you have done for us.


Activity: As a family, do something related to a fire. Sit around a fire place, grill out for lunch or dinner or make a camp fire. Talk about the alter and fire.



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 16, God's Messengers

Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7 

Symbol: Sun Rising or Rose (if you are using RCA symbols)

Reading: Many, many years before Jesus was born, people called prophets would bring God's message to the people of Israel. The prophets reminded the people of what God wanted them to do. God wanted them to be good and kind to others. The prophets told the people to worship only the one true God.
The prophets also reminded people that God had promised a savior. The prophets also gave the people hope that no matter how bad things might be here on earth, God had not forgotten them. God was going to send a child who would grow to be the world's savior.

Talk about: Have you ever forgotten a promise? 

Prayer: Thank you for making promises to us.

Activity: Names have meanings, using the internet, look of the meaning of each family member’s name. Now share why you chose that name for your child. When Mary was pregnant, an angel told her to name her child Jesus, which means, “God saves.” Talk about why Jesus is a fitting name for the Christ child.
Scott: wanderer   
Meg: pearl
Timothy: to fear God    
Benjamin: son of my right hand     
Josiah: the Lord saves
Elijah: my God is YAHWEH



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here


To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Friday, December 11, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 15, King David

Scripture: 2 Samuel 5:1-5 

Symbol: Crown

Reading: Although David was chosen by God to be king when he was a boy, he didn't become king until he was thirty years old. David was a good king because God guided him and because David listened to God. David served as king for forty years.
Being a king is an important job. Kings must be wise and strong; they must do what is good for the people of their land. Sometimes they must fight wars, but whenever possible they need to try to keep peace. Kings protect their people like shepherds protect their sheep.
David had been a shepherd, and then he became a king. God trusted him to take care of the people of Israel.

Talk about: Whom is God trusting you to take care of? 

Prayer: Watch over us and protect us, Holy God.

Activity: Make a crown for each child. (cut from paper and let them decorate, or use heavy paper and wrap in tinfoil) Let them wear the crowns and ask, “if you were King or Queen, what would you do?” Ask them, “would it be easy to be King or Queen?”and “Is there anyone you could ask for help?”  Share that King David often prayed to God for help. Ask them, “If you need God’s wisdom, how would you seek it?” Discuss how you as a parent seek God’s wisdom in your life. Tell your kids that it was through the line of David that the Savior of the world was born. In fact, Jesus was called “the Son of David.”



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 14, God Sees Our Heart

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 

Symbol: oil horn

Reading: God has a plan for you. Even when we are young, God sees into our hearts and knows what kind of people we are and what kind of people we will be.
Most of the grown-ups who saw David thought he was just a kid who tended the sheep, but while David was still a child God chose him to be a king. God's servant Samuel poured oil on David's head and anointed him as the future king of Israel.
God has a plan for each of us. Not many of us will be rulers, but each of us can serve God in important ways. It's important to listen for God's call and to find ways to honor God in our lives.

Talk about: How can you honor God in your life? 

Prayer: God of wisdom, guide us to serve you.


Activity: Wrap a surprise for your children in one small box. Use plain, boring, even dirty paper. Then, wrap a really big box with nothing in it. Make this box pretty and flashy. Put both in front of the kids and ask which one they want to open. Let them open both. Talk about how we look at the outside but God looks at the inside. He picked David because of David’s heart. 


*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 13, God Calling in the Night

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-11, 15-18

Symbol: Oil Lamp or Bed (if from using RCA patterns)

Reading: Hannah prayed very hard that God would give her a child. God heard her prayer and gave her a son, Samuel. Soon after Samuel was born his mother brought him to the temple so that he would grow up there and learn to serve God.
When Samuel was a boy, God spoke to him in the night. At first Samuel didn't recognize God's voice, but wise Eli knew that God was calling to Samuel. Even though he was young, God had a special job for Samuel. He was to be a prophet, one who spoke God's word to the people. From the first night that God called to him, Samuel obeyed God and did what God wanted him to do.
God has a special job for you, too. God might not call out to you in the night, but God will speak, sometimes through the Bible, sometimes through something that you do, and sometimes through the words of friends and family. We don't always recognize God's voice at first, but if we respond with a willingness to serve, God will speak to us.

Talk about: Have you ever felt or heard God calling to you? 

Prayer: Loving God, help us to listen for your voice and do the work you want us to do.


Activity: Have one child blindfolded. The others are in the same area. The blindfolded child must say, “Samuel!” After each time he/she calls “Samuel” the other children must say, “Yes Lord I am listening.” This will help the blindfolded child find the other children. The blindfolded child must try to tag the other children. Similar to marco, polo.


*The devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 12, Sadness Becomes Rejoicing

Scripture: Ruth 1:15-2:3 

Symbol: Grain

Reading: 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. Naomi was so sad that she thought that God had forgotten her. In the days of the Bible, most women couldn't get jobs, so women would go the fields and take the grain that the farmers left behind. Ruth went to 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, and Naomi was happy. She knew that God had not forgotten them, even when she had been sad.

Talk about: When did you feel really sad? What can make you happy?

Prayer: Holy God, thank you for being with us always.


Activity: Remind your kids, when someone is sad, we comfort him and when someone is happy, we rejoice with him. Tell your kids they need respond to you based on your facial expressions and actions. Make a big happy face and laugh. Your children should laugh. Then start crying, and tell your kids to comfort you with their words and actions. Go back and forth with different emotions and have your children respond. Explain to them that Naomi was sad in one part of the story and happy in another part.



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 11, Rahab's Courage

Scripture: Joshua 2:1-21

Symbol: Rope

Reading: 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. In return, the Israelites 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. And God remembered Rahab and took care of her for the rest of her life.

Talk about: Tell about a time when God gave you courage to help someone. 

Prayer: Dear God, give us courage to help others.


Activity: Using red yarn or rope or fabric, show your children how to braid. Have each child braid a bracelet to remember today’s story.



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 10, Rules to Guide Us

Scripture: Deuteronomy 5:1-22

Symbol: Tablets

Reading: God wants us to be good to each other. 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 the ten best rules for living. These rules are called the Ten Commandments, and they are still good rules for us today.
Not everybody likes to follow the rules. They think rules keep them from having fun. But God gave us the rules not as a punishment, but as a way of helping us to show God that we are thankful for what God has done for us. God wants us to do good, and will help us to do the right thing by guiding us to the right path.

Talk about: What rules help your family to live together and be happy?

Prayer: Righteous God, thank you for giving us rules to guide us.

Activity: Sit together and write out each of the ten commandments in a way that your kids can understand. If they are old enough, ask them to do this task and discuss it together. Below are some ideas, but be creative and work together. Explain to them that these rules were given to us to show us how to live life best.

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
    ours: Don’t make anything more important than God
  2. You shall not make idols.
    ours: Don’t worship things, worship God
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
    ours: Use God’s name with respect
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
    ours: Use the Sabbath as a day to worship and rest in Jesus
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
    ours: Respect your dad and mom
  6. You shall not murder.
    ours: Don’t hurt others with your words or actions
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
    ours: Love your family and be loyal to them
  8. You shall not steal.
    ours: Don’t take what belongs to someone else
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    ours: Speak only what is true
  10. You shall not covet.
    ours: Do not be greedy for what another person has, be grateful with what you have



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 9, Joseph Forgives

Scripture: Genesis 37:23-28; 41:39-40, 50:18-21, Matthew 27:1-4

Symbol: Coat 

Reading: Sometimes even love cannot protect us from bad things. Joseph was loved very much by his father, Israel (Jacob), but Joseph's brothers hated him. And so they sold him to a man who made him a servant and even put him in prison.
But God had given Joseph a special gift of understanding dreams, and Joseph was able to use his special gift to help others. He was rewarded for his help by being given a very important job. While he was doing this job, he again met his brothers, who did not recognize him. Even though Joseph could have been mean to his brothers, he chose to help them. He knew that even though he had gone through some terrible times, God had been with him through everything, and God still expected him to do good things.

Talk about: Who can you be kind to today? 

Prayer: God of forgiveness, help us to be kind even to people who make us angry.


Activity: Ask “who can....?” (ideas: curl their tongue, hop on one foot, touch their belly button, pat their head and rub their belly) and “what's your favorite ...?” (ideas: color, food, place, book, fun activity) Find similarities between family members. Jesus and Joseph were a lot a like. They both were betrayed by someone close to them. They were used by God to save His people. Joseph saved his family from a terrible famine through much pain and suffering personally. Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross saved us from sin, but it came at a great cost.



*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Friday, December 4, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 8, Jacob's Dream

Scripture: Genesis 28:10-22 

Symbol: Ladder

Reading: Jacob had not always been a good person. He had done some unkind things, but instead of saying he was sorry, Jacob ran away. He lived away from his family for many years, but now it was time to meet with his brother. He had to face up to the things he had done wrong many years before.
When Jacob ran away from his family, he may have thought that he was running away from God, too. The night before he was going to see his brother, God spoke to Jacob in a dream. God reminded Jacob of promises God had made to Jacob's father and grandfather, and that those promises were meant for Jacob, too.
Jacob thought that he had run away from God, but God was always with him. 

Talk about: How do you know that God is always with you?

Prayer: Remind us each day, God, that you are with us.

Activity: Have one person lay on the floor and go to sleep. Have the others pretend to be angels climbing up and down a ladder.
       OR (we prefer)
Play tag and talk about how Jacob tried to run from everyone, including God.







*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here


To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 7 God Provides a Sacrifice

Scripture: Genesis 22:1-14; James 2:21-24 

Symbol: Ram

Reading: Isaac was a special boy, and his father, Abraham, loved him very much. But Abraham loved God even more than he loved Isaac. One day God asked Abraham to take Isaac on a journey. Abraham obeyed. God also asked Abraham to kill Isaac as a sacrifice, as a way of showing how much Abraham loved God.
Abraham was sad, but he knew that he had to obey God. He trusted that even though he was being asked to do something terrible, God would make everything right. As he was getting ready to sacrifice Isaac, God sent an angel to stop Abraham and save Isaac's life. Then Abraham sacrificed a sheep as a way of honoring God, and to thank him for saving Isaac's life.

Talk about: When did you feel protected by God? 

Prayer: Protect us, dear God, when we have to do things that make us sad.


Activity: Have each child get their favorite toy and put it on the table. Ask them how they would feel if you took it and threw it away. Let them express their feelings during this time. Share with them that Abraham probably felt the same way, but he trusted God. This story also gives us a glimpse of God’s plan to save us. God’s only Son (“his best toy”) would be offered as the sacrifice for our sins. Jesus would have thorns on His head, similar to the ram caught by his horns in the thicket. Give back the toys and talk about how happy they are to have the toy back and how Abraham must have also felt so happy.


*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 6 Sarah's Answered Prayer

Scripture: Genesis 21:1-7 

Symbol: Cradle

Reading: Have you ever wanted something so much that you thought you would die if you didn't get it? It's so hard to be happy when we focus on the things we don't have, instead of the things we do have.
Sarah wanted a baby more than anything, but even though she prayed a lot and tried everything she could think of, she didn't have a baby. As she got older she finally decided that God would not give her a child. But then God gave Sarah a son, and she named him Isaac. Sarah was very happy and grateful to God for giving her a wonderful son when she had given up on her dream.

Talk about: How has God answered your prayers? 

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for answering our prayers.


Activity: Look at baby pictures and talk about how happy new babies make us. Here are a few of my favorites of our boys.

Tim
Ben
Josiah 
Elijah
Tim
Ben
Josiah
Elijah

*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Jesse Tree: Day 5, Abram's Journey

Scripture: Genesis 12:1-7; Galatians 3:6-9 

Symbol: Tent & Camel

Reading: Sometimes God asks us to do things that are hard to do. God asks us to be good when it would be so much easier--and sometimes more fun--to be naughty. God asks us to go places and do things we'd rather not do.
God asked Abram to take a long trip, and to leave behind the place that Abram called home. But in return, God made promises to Abram. God promised that Abram would be blessed by God. Abram still had problems and struggles, especially when he forgot to listen to God's directions, but God kept all of the promises made to Abram. Most importantly, God was Abram's friend forever.

Talk about: Name some ways that God shows you what God wants you to do. 

Prayer: Holy God, help us to obey you and do the things that you want us to do.


Activity: Hide a treasure and tell your kids to find it. Give them no clues or direction. After a few minutes give them a map to follow. After they find the treasure have them bring it and share it with the family. Talk about how Abraham left his home and went to a place he did not know. He did not have a map. He had to trust God. 


*The symbol and devotions are from The Reformed Church of America and you can use this link to find what I have used and more at their advent site. 

A copy of the directions to make your own Jesse Tree are here and the patterns for the symbols are here

To find a list of all the linked Jesse Tree posts click here