- Jesse Tree requires only a little bit of your time.
- Jesse Tree provides you with simple and meaningful devotions for Christmas.
- Jesse Tree illuminates the truth of the Christmas story.
- Jesse Tree involves your children.
- Jesse Tree grows with your family.
We just use a little fake tree. But you could stick a tree branch in a paint can filled with rocks. You could use green paper and cut out a Christmas tree shape and put it on the side of your fridge. You could even use your Christmas tree.
That’s what I have below – Jesse Tree Family Devotional Guide. Just copy and paste it into your word processing program. Then print it out. In Pages, it’s exactly four pages long.
The last sentence for each daily reading tells you the ornament to use. You could make these any way that you like. But I do have a template of really simple blackline drawings. I can’t post it here, but if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll send it out to you as a Word doc.
Sunday, December 2: Root of Jesse. Isaiah 11:1-2. What do these verses say about the shoot that would come up from the root of Jesse? Who is this shoot from the stump of Jesse? The people of God waited for the birth of Jesus for thousands of years. This is a long time to wait! They were eager for His coming. In what ways are you eager to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Place the “Tree Stump with Branch” ornament on your tree.
Monday, December 3: Creation. Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15-17. What do these verses say tell you about God’s creation? What did God tell the people to do as He blessed them? What do you think it means to “rule over” the fish, birds, and living creatures? What did God give to the people to eat? What did God think about His creation? What was the one tree God told man not to eat from? What do you learn about God from these verses? Place the “Earth” ornament on your tree.
Tuesday, December 4: Sin Enters the World. Genesis 3:1-24. What happens in these verses? How did sin enter the world? What do you learn about God in these verses? Who is the serpent? What does God promise in Genesis 3:15? In the middle of this hard Bible story, how does this promise give hope? Place the “Serpent and Apple” on your tree.
Wednesday, December 5: The Flood. Genesis 6:11-14; 7:17-8:3; 9:8-13. What was the world like during the time of Noah? So what did God tell Noah He was going to do? What did He tell Noah to do? How did God keep Noah and his family safe? Can you think about the ways that the coming Savior could be like the ark? What happened when God “remembered” Noah? What promise did God make? Has God kept His promise? What do these verses tell you about God? Place the “Ark and Rainbow” on your tree.
Thursday, December 4: The Promise. Genesis 12:1-4; Genesis 15:1-6; Genesis 18:1-14. What happens in these verses? What promise does God make to Abram? How did Abram respond to God’s promise? How did Sarah respond to God’s promise? What do you learn about God and His promises in these verses? Place the “Tent and Camel” on your tree.
Friday, December 7: The Beginning of the Fulfillment. Genesis 21:1-7. What happens in these verses? What do you learn about God in these verses? What do you find interesting in verse 6? (Think about our reading from yesterday.) What promise does God keep in these verses? Place the “Cradle” on your tree.
Saturday, December 8: Offering of Isaac. Genesis 22:1-14. What happens in these verses? Why do you think that Abraham could trust that God would not let Isaac die? (Think about the promise that God had made to Abraham.) What in the story tells you that Abraham trusted God? Can you think of ways that this story gives a picture of how God would save His people? What did Abraham name that place? Why did Abraham give it this name? How does today’s story give you hope that God will keep His promises even when it doesn’t look like He is keeping them? Place the “Ram” on your tree.
Sunday, December 9: Assurance of the Promise. Genesis 28:10-22. What did Jacob see in his dream? How could the coming Savior be like that ladder? Who does God tell Jacob that He is? What promises does God make to Jacob? (All of the promises are important, but be sure that your kids get God’s promise about Jacob’s descendants.) How do you know that Jacob believed God? (You may choose to read Genesis 25:19-34; 27:1- 28:10 or a “Children’s Bible” of the story of Jacob to get the context for these verses.) What do you learn about God in this story? Place the “Ladder” ornament on your tree.
Monday, December 10: God’s Providence. Genesis 37:1-36; 39:1-2, 20; 41:14-16, 46-54; 42:1-5; 45:1-7. There is no way to get the whole story of Joseph into a few verses, but this is an attempt. Feel free to use a Children’s Bible to give more of a “story.” What you want to get at with these verses is God’s protection of Jacob’s descendants. Be sure that your kids understand that Israel was the name that God gave to Jacob. As you read each section of verses, ask, “What is happening in the verses?” and “How do you see that God is keeping His promises?” As you close this story read Genesis 50:20. Are there any ways that you can see that Joseph gave a picture of what the coming Savior would be like? Place “Joseph’s Coat” on your tree.
Tuesday, December 11: God Gives the Law. Exodus 19:1-6a; 20:1-17. What happens in these verses? Read 19:5-6a again. What is God’s hope for His people? What do the “Ten Commandments” tell you about God? Who is the only person who could perfectly obey all the commandments. Place the “Ten Commandments” on your tree.
Wednesday, December 12: God Chooses Rahab. Joshua 2:1-21; Joshua 6:3-5, 20-25. What happens in this story? Is Rahab they type of woman you would have chosen to save Joshua and Caleb? How does God use Rahab to keep His promises? (See Matthew 1:5) How does this story give you hope? What does this story show you about God? Place the “Rope” on your tree.
Thursday, December 13: The Line of David Begins. Ruth 1:1-5; 15-2:12; 4:13-17. What happens in this story? How does God provide for Naomi and Ruth? How does God use these women to fulfill His promises? (See Matthew 1:5) What does this story show you about God? Place the “Sheaves of Wheat” on your tree.
Friday, December 14: God Calls Samuel. 1 Samuel 1:8-28; 3:1-11, 15-18. What happens in this story? How would you describe Hannah? What do you learn from Samuel? Can you think of ways that Samuel gave a picture of what the Messiah would be like? What do you learn about God in these verses? Place the “Temple” on your tree.
Saturday, December 15: Samuel Anoints David. 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Matthew 1:6. What happens in this story? What did Samuel see in Eliab and his brothers? What did Samuel see in David? How do you know that God saw more than a handsome young boy when He looked at David? What came mightily upon David from that day onward? How does David show us a little of what the Savior would be like? What do you learn about God in these verses? How does this encourage you? Place the “Horn of Oil” on your tree.
Sunday, December 16: David Becomes King. 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 7:8-13. What happens in these verses? What does God say to David? What does God promise about one of David’s offspring or descendants or children? (See Matthew 1:6.) What are you learning about God? What do you see in these verses that point to the coming King? How is this understanding touching your heart? Place the “Crown” on your tree.
Monday, December 17: God Speaks through the Prophets. Isaiah 9:2-7. What is a prophet? Prophets brought God’s message to the people of Israel and reminded them of what God wanted them to do. The prophets also reminded people that God had promised a Savior. What do these verses tell you about the coming Savior? What is particularly interesting to you in these verses? What do you learn about God from these verses? In Isaiah 35, God speaks of the future of Israel as a blooming rose in the desert that will be inaugurated with the coming of the Messiah. Place the “rose” on the tree.
Tuesday, December 18: God Shows His Power through the Prophet Elijah. 1 Kings 18:17-39. What happens in this story? What did Elijah pray? How does God show His power? How did God answer Elijah’s prayer? Many years have now gone by since God first promised a Savior. God powerfully showed the people that He is Lord. How would this show of power give the people hope? Can you think of ways that God showing His power in this story is similar to the way the Messiah would show His power? Place the “Stones and Fire” on your tree.
Wednesday, December 19: God Reveals His Ultimate Plan. Isaiah 11:6-10. What are some of the pairs of animals that will live in peace with each other one day? This is “reversing the curse” of Genesis 3. Reread Isaiah 11:9. How will this be possible? Even before the Messiah had been born, this promise was made. How does this encourage you? What do these verses tell you about God? Put the “Fox and Lamb” on your tree.
Thursday, December 20: God Appoints Bethlehem. Micah 5:2-5a. What do these verses tell you about Bethlehem? What do these verses tell you about the Savior? What is surprising to you about God’s choice of Bethlehem for the birthplace of His Son? What do you learn about God in these verses? Place the “Bethlehem Building” on your tree.
Friday, December 21: Keeping Watch. Habakkuk 2:1-4. What does this prophet say he will do? When will the vision or revelation come? People had been waiting a long time for the Savior to arrive and most people had given up. But what do these verses encourage the people to do? How will the righteous live? What does it mean to live by faith? Why would it take faith to wait for the Savior to come? What do you learn about God in these verses? Put the “Watchtower” on your tree.
Saturday, December 22: God Gives Good News to Zechariah. Luke 1:5-25. Describe Zechariah and Elizabeth. What happened when Zechariah was serving in the temple? What promise did Gabriel give to Zechariah? What would John do? What question did Zechariah ask that showed that he doubted the angel? What happened to Zechariah because of his doubt? Did his doubt keep God from His plan? What does this story tell you about the coming Messiah? We have been waiting for three weeks for the birth of the Savior and now we are so close! Are you excited? Put “Elizabeth and Zechariah” on your tree.
Sunday, December 23: Jesus Birth is Promised. Luke 1:26-38. How does Gabriel greet Mary? What does Gabriel tell her about the Messiah? How will this baby come to be in Mary’s womb? What is the special news the angel gives Mary about her cousin Elizabeth? How does Mary respond to this news? God’s promise is about to be fulfilled! What are you learning about God? What work is God doing in your heart? Put the “Angel” on the tree.
Monday, December 24: God Gives Joseph His Plan. Matthew 1:18-24. What happens in these verses? How does God show His care for Joseph? How did Joseph respond to the message from the angel? What do you learn about the coming Messiah in these verses? Put the “Carpenter Tools” on your tree because Joseph was a carpenter. (Please continue with the next passage.)
God Blesses Mary and Elizabeth. Luke 1:39-48, 56. What happens in these verses? What does Elizabeth know about Mary? How does Mary respond? What do these verses tell you about the coming Messiah? Elizabeth and Mary responded with joy and praise. What do these verses stir in your heart when you think about the work that God has done in bringing our Savior into the world? Place the “Heart” on your tree because Mary and Elizabeth’s hearts were turned to God.
Tuesday, December 25: God Prepares the Way for Jesus’ Birth. Luke 2:1-5. What happens in these verses? Why did they have to go to Bethlehem? What promises of God are being fulfilled in these verses? The waiting is almost over! The birth of Jesus is almost here! Praise God for all the work He has done in preparing the way for Jesus’ birth! Put the “Traveling Sandals” on your tree. (Please continue with the next passage.)
Jesus is born!!!! Luke 2:6-21. Where was Jesus born? What glorious announcement did the angel of the Lord bring to shepherds? How did the host of angels praise God? What did the shepherds do right away? How did Mary respond to the birth of Jesus? What happened eight days after Jesus was born? What have you learned about God? What have you learned about God’s promised Messiah? How has God touched your heart during this Advent season? Place the “Star” at the top of your tree.