Jesse Tree 6. Abraham & Sarah - Friday, 3 December 2021

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3 December, 2021

READ: Genesis 15-17

God brought Abraham outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.                                                                                           (Genesis 15:5)

You will not be called Abram anymore. Your name will be Abraham because I have made you a father of many nations. I will greatly increase the number of your children after you. Nations and kings will come from you. I will make my covenant with you last forever. It will be between me and you and your family after you for all time to come. I will be your God. And I will be the God of all your family after you.                                                                                                                                                                    (Genesis 17:5-7)

God also said to Abraham, “Do not continue to call your wife by the name Sarai. Her name will be Sarah. I will give her my blessing. You can be sure that I will give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations. Kings of nations will come from her.”                                        (Genesis 17:15-16)

REFLECT

If there’s a clear night this week, go outside with your family before you go to bed. Find a spot where you can see the sky and look up. Hopefully, the sky is dark enough that you’re able to see the tiny pinpricks of stars, way off in the distance. The longer you look, the more stars you’ll be able to see.

This is how God showed Abraham how big his family would be. God promised that Abraham would have one son and so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren that he wouldn’t be able to count them, even if he tried. He’d changed their names and promised that Kings of nations would come from them.

Did you realize that you are part of Abraham’s family? When God showed Abraham all those stars, he was including you, too! Because of Jesus Christ, we are adopted into that same family—the family of Abraham and the family of God. The people in the stories you’re reading this Advent are your great-great-great grandmas and grandpas!

TALK

  • Do you think Abraham tried to count all the stars he could see?
  • What does it feel like to be part of God’s family?

PRAY

God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thank you for making me part of your family. I’m thankful that I get to be in the same family as Jesus. Thank you for inviting me into the covenant promise. Help me reflect the family name well. Amen.

BLESS & DO

Add the next picture to your tree.

Go outside and count the stars and thank God for each of your ancestors, by name if you can.




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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