Jesse Tree 23. Zechariah - Monday, 20 December 2021

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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 28. Jesus - Saturday, 25 December 2021

READ Luke 2:1-21

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:6-11)

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. (Luke 2:16-18)

REFLECT

Eep! Have you heard the Good News? Jesus is born! A new branch is finally sprouting from the stump of Jesse. Mary is pondering it all. As she nurses little Jesus, she’s thinking about what it means that he is here, ready to save the world. The angels are proclaiming it. They come as a huge choir, singing about how amazing God is.

The shepherds are a part of it, too. God chooses to tell them first. The shepherds aren’t fancy or important, but they’re the first ones who get to meet Jesus. And today, you get to be there with the shepherds. You get to hear the Good News. You get to meet Jesus. You get to go tell other people about it. God has chosen you! He wants you to have a part in his story.

TALK

- Why do you think God chose to tell the shepherds about Jesus before anyone else?

PRAY

Jesus, we’re so glad you’ve come! Thank you for being born into our world. Thank you for loving us enough to come to save us and live with us. How thrilled and grateful I am that you willingly entered into the darkness of the world to bring your light and life. The life you bring is just the beginning of a whole new creation in your Spirit. I can’t wait to see what’s yet to come. Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the Jesus picture to your tree.

Do things for others today that you might not ordinarily do to Bless them and show Jesus’ love.

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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Christmas Day - Something is Here, Jesus - Saturday, 25 December 2021

READ Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Luke 2:1-20

Our readings this week draw our attention towards the awareness of God in our midst: Isaiah casts the prophecy forwards, of the light dawning, Psalms calls us to marvel at the splendour of God manifest in the world, and Luke is the story of that glorious moment of light dawning that Isaiah saw. This final week of Advent is a celebration – rightly so – and it is full of light and hope. This week we will encourage each other with what God is actually doing in our lives and our community. What are the things that God is doing among us that people might not normally see?

REFLECT, TALK & DO

When it’s dark, it can be hard to see what is right in front of us. When Jesus arrived, it was with light and joy – the angels lit up the sky, the stars pointed at the new thing that was happening. The reading from Isaiah draws our attention to this: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Over the last few weeks, we have been building an Advent tree: it’s full of our reflections and thanks, and prayers and hopes. Today, we are going to add the pinnacle of the Advent story– a baby in an unlikely place. The Christmas story encourages us to look in ordinary places for extraordinary things – for a light dawning in a dark place. Angels appearing to wisemen, a Bright star shining in the sky.

Advent is also a time for gathering together and for sharing, so I want to encourage you to turn to the people around you and have a bit of a think, together.

- Where have you seen bright light dawning in dark places?

- Where have you seen people respond and be renewed in relationship?

- Think about ways that you can see Jesus in your workplace, or school, or home – in your friends or workmates, or family, or household. Think and share specific examples.

To finish off our Advent tree – we are going to add Jesus to the scene. During the service write down the stories that you have shared, and the ways that you have seen Jesus show up in your life this year, and then add them to the tree here, or take them home.

PRAY

Isaiah called the people to look forward to the day when the people walking in darkness would see a great light. He encouraged his people to see a future, where a light has dawned on the darkness. God, please help us to see and know that light. Help us to be the light in dark places, and to recognise and share the stories of how we see Jesus in our lives. Thank you for your light, Jesus the Light of the World. Amen.

Watery Advent 5. JESUS

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 to complete our wreath, we celebrate the coming of Jesus.

All: We thank you for coming as one unlike anyone else. [Pour water into the fifth glass.]

2: We remember the one who came by water and blood, the one who cried for his dead friend, the one who was thirsty and asked a woman for a drink.

All: We thank you for coming as one unlike anyone else.

1: We remember the one who walked on water, the one who calmed the waves, the one who turned water into wine.

All: We thank you for coming as one unlike anyone else.

2: We remember the one who is living water for us here and now.

All: We thank you because our thirst for God is quenched in you. 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 27. A Long Journey - Friday, 24 December 2021

READ Luke 2:1-5

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. (Luke 2:1-5)

REFLECT

We’re almost there! We’ve traveled through so much of the Bible this Advent, and now we’re almost to Bethlehem. Who are we traveling with? We’re traveling with Mary. Her pregnant belly is big and round, and she’s ready to have the baby! She doesn’t want to be pregnant anymore. She wants to hold Jesus in her arms. As we wait for Jesus to come again, we’re like Mary. We can get antsy, impatient for him to come back and make everything right.

We’re traveling with Joseph, too. He doesn’t know what to expect. He’s never been a dad before. He doesn’t even know how to hold a baby! We’re like Joseph because we don’t know what to expect, either! We hope we’ve done enough to prepare for Jesus to come again. We hope we’re ready.

Jesus, come soon! We’re excited for you to be here with us forever. We don’t want to wait any more.

TALK

- What will it be like when Jesus comes again?

PRAY

Jesus, I'm excited for you to come again. Will you help me be ready? Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree

Think about someone you know that is making a long journey at this time of year 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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