Jesse Tree Outlines for December 19th-25th(adapted for our toddlers from the RCA website and The Glorious Coming. The symbols and patterns used below are copyrighted by Reformed Church Press)
December 19th: The Watch Tower
Habakkuk 2:1a (NIV) I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me and what answer I am to give.
Christmas is less than a week away! Waiting is so hard! These are the days of counting calendars and numbering the shopping days left. But we know that Christmas will eventually come, and our waiting will be over. We wait for so many things, some of them happy and some of them not so happy. Waiting means we are looking ahead to the future. Before Jesus was born, the people were waiting for a savior. They had faith that God would keep his promise. They waited a long time; some of them forgot to keep looking for God's promised son. They no longer cared about God or God's promise, and when Jesus arrived they didn't recognize him. But those who remembered and trusted God recognized Jesus and their waiting was finally over. We are not only waiting for Christmas. We are waiting for Jesus to come again as well. Do we wait anxiously... on the edge of our seats... for Jesus to come again? Or are we distracted? Have we forgotten to keep on looking for his coming? Father, help us to wait patiently and persistently.
December 20th: Zecharaiah and Elizabeth
Luke 1:17 (NIV) And he will go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Zechariah and Elizabeth honored God, and God loved them, but they did not have a child. One day while Zechariah was working in the temple, an angel brought him a message from God. The angel told Zechariah that he and Elizabeth were going to have a very special son and his name was going to be John. Zechariah didn't believe the angel's good news. So, God took away Zechariah's voice as a sign of God's power. Imagine if you had seen an angel who had told you wonderful, happy news, and you weren't able to tell anyone what had happened! Sometimes it is difficult to believe God's good news. Zechariah and Elizabeth were happy to know that they would have a son chosen by God to do important work. They were blessed by God even though the blessing was difficult to believe at first. Father, prepare our hearts to believe the good news about your Son.
December 21st: John the Baptist
Matthew 3:1-2 (NIV) In those days John came preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Zecharaiah and Elizabeth's son grew up to be John the Baptist. He was Jesus' cousin. God chose him to tell the people about Jesus. John wanted people to know that Jesus is the Son of God, the savior that God had promised the people so many years ago. He wanted them to be ready to believe in Jesus. John wanted the people to remember God, and he baptized them in the river if they confessed their sins and turned away from them. The baptism reminded them that God forgave and washed away their sins. John did not look like other people, and some people thought he was a little strange. But many other people listened to John, and they were ready to believe in Jesus. Father, forgive our sins. Help us to trust and follow Jesus.
December 22nd: Mary
Luke 1:28 (NIV) The angel went to hear and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
It didn't seem possible! Mary was just a young unmarried girl, but the angel announced, "You will be a mother, and the baby will be God's son." Mary was not chosen because she was good, smart, or strong. God showed great grace and kindness to Mary by choosing her for this important job. She would be the mother of God's forever king! She would be the mother of Jesus! Mary was afraid. The angel reminded Mary that God would be with her. Mary was God's servant, and she joyfully accepted God's will. Father, give us great grace. Turn our hearts to follow your will. Help us to pray, "Let it be according to your will."
December 23rd: Joseph
Matthew 1:21 (NIV) She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
Yesterday we talked about Jesus' mother, Mary. Jesus also had an earthly father named Joseph, who was a carpenter. God sent an angel to talk to Joseph in a dream. The angel explained that God had chosen Mary, and that Mary's baby would be very special. When Joseph woke up, he knew that he and Mary were a part of God's great rescue plan. The angel promised, "The baby will save his people from their sins." God has come near to bring salvation. Father, help us to trust you as our Savior.
December 24th: The Decree and the Journey
Luke 2:4-7 (NIV) So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Sometimes taking a trip is fun, like when we go on vacation. Often when we are on a journey, we experience something difficult... like a wrong turn or a flat tire. Joseph and Mary didn't expect to go to Bethlehem, but the ruler of their country commanded it. If we were to take the same journey by car it wouldn't take very long, but because Mary and Joseph were walking, it took a long time. They didn't expect to stay in a stable and place the newborn baby in a manger, but there was no room for them in the inn. There were no hotel reservations in those days. The events of this journey were not expected, but they were all part of God's plan. He had worked out the details a long time before. God is in control of our journey. God, help us to trust your plan.
December 25th: He Is Born!
Luke 2:11, 14 (NIV) Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
Our waiting is over! Jesus is born! The star is shining, the angels are singing, the shepherds are worshiping. Our savior is here! When sin first came into the world, God made a promise. Even when the people forgot about God and the promise, God didn't forget about the people. God guided the people, protected the people, and loved the people, even when they were sinful. God was faithful, and today the promise is fulfilled. He is born this happy morning! There is good news for everyone! Go and tell the good news!