Hello, Mama readers! Are you as excited as I am? Enjoy the first seven days!
Day #1 – Introduction – The Jesse Tree
Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10
Ornament: The Jesse Tree – This ornament can either show a stump or a tree, but it’s important to have both the roots and the branches showing.
Story: The Jesse Tree, “Introduction”, pages 8-9 / The Jesus Storybook, “The Story and The Song”, pages 12-17
Song: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” (Watch it here) and “Come, Thou, Long Expected Jesus” (Watch it here)
The point: Jesus was not only the Root of David, but the Branch. David called him LORD, yet He was descended from David. Such a wonderful mystery!
Suggested activity: Get your tree! It’s kinda hard to start putting ornaments out unless you have a tree. And it’s a great way to have a conversation about trees. Bonus if you go to a tree farm and actually get to see a tree that is still rooted in the ground.
Alternative: Plant a seed and talk about roots and shoots as you do.
Day #2 – Creation
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5, 26-27
Ornament: The World (or the Sun & Moon) – This ornament represents the Creation, so be as artistic or as simple as you wish.
Story: The Jesse Tree, “The Jesse Tree”, pages 10-11 / The Jesus Storybook, “The beginning: a perfect home”, pages 18-27
Song: “The Seven Days of Creation” (to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”)
On the first day of Creation the Good Lord gave to me… His light so we all could see.
On the second day of Creation the Good Lord gave to me… the sky up above and His light so we all could see.
On the third day of Creation the Good Lord gave to me…land, sea and plants, the sky up above and His light so we all could see.
On the fourth day of Creation the Good Lord gave to me…sun, moon and stars, land, sea and plants, the sky up above and His light so we all could see.
On the fifth day of Creation the Good Lord gave to me…birdies and fishies, sun, moon and stars, land, sea and plants, the sky up above and His light so we all could see.
On the sixth day of Creation the Good Lord gave to me…animals and people, birdies and fishies, sun, moon and stars, land, sea and plants, the sky up above and His light so we all could see.
On the seventh day of Creation the Good Lord gave to me…a day to rest…and…praise Him… (pretend to sleep)…animals and people, birdies and fishies, sun, moon and stars, land, sea and plants, the sky up above and His light so we all could see.
The point: Jesus is part of the godhead and as such, was present at Creation. He has always been.
Suggested Activity: Decorate your tree and think about how special it feels when you are done with your work. Think about how God felt after creating us.
Day #3 – The Fall
Scripture: Genesis 3:6-9, 14-15
Ornament: The Forbidden Fruit and the Serpent – This ornament can be any variation of this theme. One year I just had a red apple. However, last year I thought, “Maybe the forbidden fruit was purple??” Beside that, I wanted the serpent represented as well because the prophecy says that it is his head that Jesus would bruise.
Story: The Jesse Tree, “Paradise Garden”, pages 12-15 / The Jesus Storybook, “The terrible lie”, pages 28-37
Song: “Satan is My Enemy” (Watch it here)
The point: God had a plan for our redemption through Jesus from the very moment sin entered the world. In His punishment to the serpent, God prophesied of Jesus coming as our remedy.
Suggested Activity: Write a letter to God thanking Him for His plan of salvation for us.
Day #4 – The Flood
Scripture: Genesis 6:5-8
Ornament: The Rainbow or Ark – I chose the rainbow because it is more colorful and represents His promise to us. But I also like the idea of the ark because it represents God’s provision for the righteous.
Story: The Jesse Tree, “A Boat Full of Animals”, pages 16-19 / The Jesus Storybook, “A new beginning”, pages 38-47
Song: “Arky, Arky” (Watch it here)
As a silly aside, you can listen to goats singing Christmas carols. They are hilarious and make the kiddos laugh. My middle son said that it makes him imagine what it would have been like to be on the ark full of animals. So we can tie this in, right?! 🙂 (Watch it here)
The point: Although God cannot stand sin and had to destroy it, He made a plan of deliverance from His wrath for the righteous.
Suggested Activity: Have a family Lego night! Have your children build elaborate creations. How would they feel if they were destroyed? How do you think God felt when He had to destroy what He had created?
Alternative: Make a list as a family of as many promises of God that you can come up with and hang them somewhere prominent through the Christmas season (and beyond!)
Day #5 – Abraham’s promise
Scripture: Genesis 12:1-4, 7, 15:5
Ornament: The Stars in the Sky – Later on there will be a single star, but this ornament shows the many, many that were shown to Abraham. (I just got a glittery ball ornament and dotted it with a gold pen and it turned out really well.)
Story: The Jesse Tree, “Strange Visitors”, pages 20-22 / The Jesus Storybook, “Son of laughter”, pages 56-61
Song: “Father Abraham” (Watch it here)
The point: God promised that the whole earth would be blessed by Abraham’s seed (Jesus) and that his descendants would be innumerable like the stars in the sky.
1) Stargaze as a family and try to count the stars for a minute. Think of the enormity of God’s promise to Abraham.
2) If weather doesn’t permit this, check out this footage from the Hubble space telescope.
Day #6 – The Sacrifice
Scripture: Genesis 22:1-14
Ornament: The Ram – You could do a number of variations on this, such as fill a glass ornament with white wool yarn, or attempt as I did to paint a ram.
Story: The Jesse Tree, “A Test of Love”, pages 23-25 / The Jesus Storybook, “The present”, pages 62-29
Song: “There is a Redeemer” (Watch it here)
The point: God asked Abraham to offer up his only son Isaac. Instead, God provided a substitute for Isaac, a ram. God offered up His only Son, Jesus, which provided the ultimate substitute for us.
Suggested Activity: As a family, wrap a cross or some other representation of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Place it under your tree to represent His gift to us. Write “FROM: God” and have each family member write their own name on the “TO: __________ ” portion of the tag.
Day #7 – Jacob
Scripture: Genesis 28:10-22
Ornament: Jacob’s ladder
Story: The Jesse Tree, “Stairway to Heaven”, pages 26-29
Song: “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” (Watch it here)
The point: God repeated the promise that He had given to Abraham and promised Jacob that his seed would be as the dust of the earth and that through his seed (Jesus) would all the nations of the earth be blessed.
1) Be a blessing to someone and write a note to someone to remind that person how much God loves them.
2) Find a big, semi-smooth rock and have your children try to lay their heads on it like a pillow and think of Jacob’s fitful night and eventful encounter with God.
Are you enjoying these? Feel free to let me know what worked and didn’t work for you.
Next week’s devotionals will post on December 6. Check back in!
Blessings and much love,