Jesse Tree 26. Joseph - Thursday, 23 December 2021

READ Matthew 1

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”     (Matthew 1:18-21)

REFLECT

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 lists so many of the characters that we have read about so far in the Jesse tree. It shows the long list of descendants all the way from Abraham through to Jacob, Rahab, Ruth, Jesse, David, and Joseph.

In the story of Jesus' birth, Joseph plays a big part. He’s not as central to the narrative as Mary, yet we shouldn't overlook him. Joseph could have said, "No way! I'm not going to marry her anymore. Even though I love Mary, I want to have a normal life. I don't want to be the adoptive dad of the Son of God. That's weird. People will think I'm weird." But he didn't. Joseph said, "Yes, I'll marry her. I'll help raise the Son of God. I'll let people think I'm weird."

Joseph cared less about what other people thought and more about what God thought. He cared more about Mary and less about himself. And because of that, God gave him a pretty cool part in God’s story. God used Joseph to raise Jesus. Joseph got to teach Jesus how to use a hammer and build a chair, how to read the Bible, and how to love other people. Joseph got to be Jesus’ dad.

TALK

  • What things did Jesus learn from Joseph?
  • What can you learn from Joseph?

 PRAY

God, thank you for inviting Joseph into your story, and for the example, he sets for us. Help me think less about my reputation and more about following you and your good ways. Help me to be brave and strong to do your good in the world. Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree

Think about someone who has been a positive influence in your life and find a way to bless them. 




Materials adapted from: https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/, http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-jesse-tree-printable-pictures.html                 

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Jesse Tree 25. Mary - Wednesday, 22 December 2021

READ Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”                                                                                                                                        (Luke 1:26-33)

REFLECT

Ask someone you know what it’s like to be a parent. They might mention that it’s both wonderful and hard, and that lots of it is bittersweet. When Mary agreed to become Jesus’ mom, she may not have realized all that she was signing up for. She was probably doing something really normal, like brushing her teeth, reading a book, or walking home from a friend’s house.

But once that angel showed up, nothing was normal anymore! Now Mary would be Jesus’ mum—the mother of the Son of God. Her life was going to change a whole lot. She was going to feel everything parents feel, except maybe even more. Her son is definitely the coolest person ever, and she got to help raise him! She also had to watch him die, which is maybe the worst thing for a parent. But she also got to see him come back to life as the Saviour of the whole world.

Thanks to Mary, nothing is “normal” for us anymore, either. We get to live in a world where God became a human being. God has chosen to save the world. Through Jesus, God is making all things new!

TALK

  • How did Mary feel about becoming Jesus’ mum?
  • What’s different about the world because she said yes?

PRAY

God, thanks for becoming a human being. Thanks for choosing to become one of us and for saving the world. What an incredible thing you’ve done by entering into history as a human being and redeeming me as one of your own. As I go about my day, help me to remember that fact. Keep me attentive to the holiness of each moment. Nothing is ordinary anymore. Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree.

Find something nice to do for a parent (yours or someone else’s) to bless them.



Materials adapted from: https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/, http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-jesse-tree-printable-pictures.html                 

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Jesse Tree 24. John the Baptist - Tuesday, 21 December 2021

READ: Matthew 3:1-6

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,  “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” (Matthew 3:1-6)

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.                            (Matthew 3:1-6)

REFLECT

When someone comes to your house, they don’t just come right in. They usually knock or ring the doorbell. It’s how they announce that they’re coming. If your mum or dad is especially tidy, they might pick up a few toys and stack a few papers before they answer the door. The time between hearing the doorbell and answering the door gives them a chance to clean up—to prepare for the person to come in.

John the Baptist was kind of like a doorbell for Jesus. He let everyone know that Jesus was coming. John came first, giving everyone a chance to prepare their hearts for Jesus. He invited people to confess their sins and be baptized, so that they could be clean when Jesus arrived.

Like John and the people he baptized, we can prepare for Jesus to come. We can confess and repent of our sins. We can ask God to make us clean. We can make our hearts ready to receive Jesus at Christmas!

TALK

  • What do you do before someone comes to your house?
  • How can you, like John the Baptist, be like a doorbell for Jesus?

PRAY

Lord, what parts of my heart are messy? Would you help me clean up and be ready for you to come? Please help me to find the things in me that are a mess, the places that are making it hard for me to encounter you. I confess those sins to you. Make me clean. Prepare my heart to welcome you. Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree.

Prepare a message of love and hope for someone to bless them.



Materials adapted from: https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/, http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-jesse-tree-printable-pictures.html                 

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Jesse Tree 23. Zechariah - Monday, 20 December 2021

READ Luke 1:1-24

Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.                                                                                                                                               (Luke 1:11-13)

He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”                                                                                  (Luke 1:16-20)

REFLECT

Is it hard or easy for you to stay quiet for a long time? For most of us, it’s pretty hard. There are so many things to talk about! But Zechariah didn’t have a choice. God made him unable to speak for about nine months, while his wife, Elizabeth, was pregnant with their son. He couldn’t talk to Elizabeth about what things they needed to get ready for a baby. He couldn’t tell her that she made a delicious dinner. He couldn’t talk to his friends about his job.

I wonder if being forced to be silent was actually very helpful for Zechariah. Sometimes, when we’re so busy chatting, we don’t notice God’s quiet presence. Maybe not talking helped Zechariah see God with him during the day. I wonder if it would be helpful for us to have some quiet moments during Advent. If we never turn off the Christmas music, we might drown out God’s voice. God is with you right now, and if you’re quiet, you might notice him!

TALK

  • If you were Zechariah, what things would you want to say?
  • Where do you notice God today?

PRAY

God, help me calm down and listen to you. Help me to quiet my buzzing thoughts. What do you want me to hear? What invitation are you extending to me today? What do you want to tell me? Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree.

Take time to be still and silent to listen to God and then go do what He says. 



Materials adapted from: https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/, http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-jesse-tree-printable-pictures.html                 

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Jesse Tree 22. Micah - Sunday, 19 December 2021

READ Micah 5:1-5

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore, he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.                                                                          (Micah 5:2-5)

REFLECT

Do you know what a prophecy is? It’s kind of like a promise about the future. A prophecy tells us what’s going to happen. When someone tells you something that’s going to happen, do you usually believe it? Maybe you believe it if your dad says he’ll pick you up from school, but not if your sister says she’ll let you play with her toy. It depends on who is making the promise!

When God or his prophets say something, it will definitely happen. So when God’s prophet Micah says that someone is coming who will rule Israel, he really means it. A king is coming who will stand and feed his flock—he’ll take care of his people. And he will bring peace everywhere he goes. Micah prophesied that many, many years ago. But Jesus really came! He cared for his people and was full of peace.

We can be confident that Jesus will come again and his peaceful kingdom will stay forever. He is the Prince of Peace.

TALK

  • How does it feel when a promise is broken?
  • Why can we trust God’s promises?

PRAY

Prince of Peace, you are a good and loving king. I can’t wait for you to come back. Some days, both the world and my life seem out of control and beyond repair. But I am trusting you to keep your promise to come and rule like a good and gentle shepherd. Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree.

Bless someone by fulfilling a promise that you have given.



Materials adapted from: https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/, http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-jesse-tree-printable-pictures.html                 

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Advent 4. Sharing the Story - Sunday, 19 December 2021

READ Micah 5:2-5, Psalms 80:1-7 & Luke 1:39-55

This week we will focus on the ways that we share the stories of the things God has done. In the nativity story, the angels appeared and declared the Good News of Christ’s birth, and in the readings, Luke shares with us Mary’s song of declaration of the goodness of God, from generation to generation, he has lifted up the humble and filled the hungry with good things. Mary sings of the mercy and the help that God has extended to his people. This week, we are encouraged to think about the ways that the Good News of Jesus makes our lives better, and the ways that we declare that in our lives. As you read the passages, think about who are the humble, the hungry and the rich, and what it means to be sent away. Take your time to think out loud about ways that we can make the Good News relevant to our world right now – the ways that we see and name the good things God has done, but also the hard things that still exist.

REFLECT, TALK & DO

This is the fourth week of Advent – we’ve thought about anticipating, we thought about preparing, we looked at risky journeys, and this week, we are going to think about sharing the anticipation with others.

In the Bible passages today, we read about different ways that people shared their anticipation of what was coming: Mary sings this song, the Magnificat, declaring the good things that God has done and he’s doing in her life and in the lives of her people. Elizabeth has a similar journey of realising Good News that was growing. In these passages, we are reminded that the Good News that we share is not about laws and rules but it’s the Good News of Christ who became one of us. We are reminded that just like God shared Good News with us when he sent Jesus at Christmas time, we have the opportunity to share that Good News too. In the story of Jesus’ birth, the angels declared the Good News to the shepherds on the hillside.

We are going to spend some time thinking about the ways that we see, and then declare Good News in our lives. Think about:

  • Who are you thankful for?
  • What do you want to declare as Good News?
  • Who in your life needs to hear the Good News?
  • Who are the “humble” and the ones that “fear him”? Who are the “proud in their innermost thoughts”? who are “hungry” maybe not just for food? How can you share the good news with them? In words? In actions? Who can help you do it?

Spend some time thinking, talking, and praying about this. Write your thoughts and prayers on the stars or Mary or Angels and add them to the tree or take them home to remind you.

PRAY

Thank you, God, that we have heard the Good News. Help us to remember that it is Good News, but not just for us. Help to share it, and show it in our lives. Help us to be brave like Mary, and recognise and share how you are good in ours and others' lives. Amen.


Watery Advent 1. LOVE

Usually during Advent, we do an advent candle wreath, however this year we are doing a water wreath! Especially in the hot Australian Summer water is something that we anticipate, that we hope for. A cup of cool cup of water on a hot summer’s day, rain for our farmers and lawns, water to swim in, water for baptism! Water is a powerful symbol. 

So each week, just like we would with a candle wreath, we’re going to fill a new cup instead of lighting a new candle as we reflect on Hope, Love, Peace, and Joy. Each week we will be adding more to the Jesse tree and to remind us of life growing out of the stump.

1: As we pour the water for our Advent wreath, we remember our deep thirst for God’s love.

All: We long for your love, O God. [Pour water into fourth glass.]

2: A tsunami wave of love, overpowering, all-enveloping, overwhelming, sweeping all up before it and changing the landscape forever.

All: We long for your love, O God.

1: Love which has the patience to seep into us, one drop at a time over aeons, forming stalagmites of beauty in the darkest places.

All: We long for your love, O God.

2: Love which holds us with the silent ethereal mystery of mist on a mountain top.

All: We long for your love, O God.

1: I invite you to name aloud people and places which are in particular need of God’s love at this time e.g.: Victims of violence; People who feel unloved; orphans and wards of the state; Those in nursing homes and far away from loved ones; People who have lost loved ones this year; People living with broken relationships with their family; Child soldiers throughout the world.

1 & 2: Advent God, we worship you with love.

All: We long for your love, O God. Amen.



Materials adapted from: https://intergen.org.au/product/advent-series-something-is-coming/ & https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/intergen-docs/resources/Engage-Together-Advent-2020.pdf     


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Jesse Tree 21. Daniel - Saturday, 18 December 2021

READ Daniel 6

The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.”             (Daniel 6:12)

Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. (Daniel 6:16)

Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?” Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.”                    (Daniel 6:19-21)

REFLECT

Daniel was brave. The reason he was brave was because he trusted God. Daniel knew that God was powerful and would take care of him. Daniel wasn’t scared to pray to God, even though the king had made a rule that people could only pray to the king. Daniel wasn’t scared to go into the lions’ den, even though the lions were hungry and ready to eat him. Daniel knew that God would take care of him. And God did! God sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths so they couldn’t bite Daniel.

In the Bible, angels are more than messengers, delivering God’s words like celestial mail carriers; they are understood to represent God. It’s as if God himself is with Daniel in that den. God himself was protecting Daniel! God—the Lion of Judah—showed the lions of Babylon that he was more powerful and that he would protect Daniel.

TALK

  • When has God helped you feel brave?
  • When have you felt God’s presence with you? What was that like?

PRAY

God, thank you for being powerful and protecting me. Living in your kingdom can put me at odds with the world around me, but even when I feel under attack, you are with me. Please help me trust you. Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree

Find something to do to bless people that work to protect you (Fire, Police, Security etc.)  



Materials adapted from: https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/, http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-jesse-tree-printable-pictures.html                 

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Jesse Tree 20. Habakkuk - Friday, 17 December 2021

READ Habakkuk 1-3

I will stand at my watch post, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.                                            (Habakkuk 2:1)

For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.                                               (Habakkuk 2:3-4) 

REFLECT

Habakkuk the prophet has just finished telling God, “Hey! Everyone around here is horrible! They don’t care about anyone else. They’re hurting other people. Why don’t you do anything to stop them?” Things have gotten really bad. So, Habakkuk marches up to a tall tower and waits. Will God explain why it seems like he isn’t doing anything about all the awful people and the terrible things they’re doing? And God does answer Habakkuk! God says, “Oh, I’ve noticed. And I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to stop the evil people from doing terrible things. Everything that they’ve done to other people is going to happen to them.”

Habakkuk wonders when God will do all this. It already feels like it’s taking too long! So, God tells Habakkuk to be patient. God promises that he will make things right.

TALK

  • What things, big or little, are you waiting for?
  • Why is it hard to wait sometimes?
  • What helps you to be patient?

PRAY

God, waiting is hard! We want you to fix everything right now. Will you help us grow more patient? Will you help us trust that you will do what you’ve said you’ll do? Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree

Find something to do for someone else that will require patience on your behalf, and see it through. 



Materials adapted from: https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/, http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-jesse-tree-printable-pictures.html                 

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Jesse Tree 19. Jonah - Thursday, 16 December 2021

READ: Jonah 1-4

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put-on sackcloth.                                                                                     (Jonah 3:1-5)

REFLECT

Jonah was not a very good listener. Or maybe he could hear just fine, but he wasn’t so great at obeying. When God told him to go to Nineveh, he hopped on the first boat in the other direction! God loved the people of Nineveh and wanted them to know him, so he stirred up a big storm to get Jonah’s attention. Jonah asked the sailors to throw him off the ship to get the storm to stop, which they did. And then a giant fish came along and gulped him down. Jonah stayed in that fish’s belly for three days.

When the fish spat him back out, Jonah decided to obey God and go to Nineveh. He arrived in Nineveh, told the people God’s message, and they believed! Jonah wasn’t the only person to hang out in a dark, damp place for three days. That’s what Jesus did while he was in the tomb. Jesus was much more willing to obey than Jonah was, and Jesus’ obedience also meant that lots of people had the chance to trust God!

TALK

  • Why do you think Jonah was so reluctant to go to Nineveh to start with?
  • What changed his mind?
  • Why do you think the people of Nineveh believed God?

PRAY

God, help me to obey you so that other people can know you. Search my heart and point out the places where I haven’t been following you. I confess that I have fallen short. Help me, like Jonah and Jesus, to be obedient. To where or what are you calling me? I want to follow. Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree

Bless someone by telling them about God's love for them.



Materials adapted from: https://www.faithward.org/jesse-tree/, http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-jesse-tree-printable-pictures.html                 

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