Thank you to eveyone who designed a decoration for the Jesse Tree - it looks fantastic!
The Stump of Jesse
The tree stump reminds us of God's promise that even when there is death and suffering, He can bring new life. The birth of Jesus gives us all HOPE!
The royal line of David is like a tree that has been cut down; but just as new branches sprout from a stump, so a new king will arise from among David's descendants.
The Spirit of the Lord will give him wisdom.
Isaiah 11 vs 1 & 2
The God said, "And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us...." So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female. God looked at everything He had made, and He was very pleased.
Genesis 1 vs 26, 27 & 31
The picture of Adam & Eve reminds us that we are made in the image of God... God created us individually and cares about each one of us individually!
Long ... Long .... Journeys
The Lord said to Abram, "Leave your country, your relatives and your father's home, and go to a land that I am going to show you. I will give you many descendants, and they will become a great nation, I will bless you and make your name famous, so that you will be a blessing.
Genesis 12 vs 1-2
The picture of the camel reminds us of the journey Jesus made... He left everything behind in heaven to come to earth, to be with us on that first Christmas. He wanted to be with us then ... and still wants to be with us now in Hartwell 2020!
A big sacrifice
Sometime later God tested Abraham; he called to him, "Abraham!" And Abraham answered, "Yes, here I am!" "Take your son" God said , "your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go to the land of Moriah. There on a mountain that I will show you, offer him as a sacrifice to me."
Genesis 22 vs 1 + 2
The picture of the sheep reminds us of the fact that God has provided a rescue plan... He was prepared to give up His only Son for us... so what is our response to this amazing gift this advent?!
A Red Rope
Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families. They said to her, "This is what you must do When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house."
Joshua 2 vs 8,9,12 & 18
The picture of Rahab's red rope reminds us that God will ALWAYS protect us and that He has an exciting rescue plan for us ... if we ask Him for help!
An unexpected king
The Lord said to Samuel,"...fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”
Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”
“Send for him at once,” Samuel said.
So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.
And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”
1 Samuel 16 vs 1, 11 & 12
The picture of the shepherds crook reminds us that God uses the people we least expect to do His work! For example He used a baby... born in a stable ...to SAVE THE WORLD!
I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’
The word of the Lord came to Solomon: “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.” So Solomon built the temple and completed it.
1 Kings 5 v 5 & 6 vs 11-14
The picture of the temple reminds us that because Jesus became a human (as well as still being God) on that first Christmas and then later died for us - He made it possible for us to talk to God anywhere and everywhere.
I will climb my watch tower and wait to see what the Lord will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint.
The Lord gave me this answer: "Those who are evil will not survive but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God"
Habakkuk 2 vs 1 & 4
The tower reminds us that when we are going through hard times, we can talk to God about them and He will answer us ... we may have to wait a bit .. but GOD WILL ALWAYS ANSWER!
The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how good it would be to become wise. She took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it.
Genesis 3 vs 6 & 7
The picture of the apple reminds us that we all do things which are wrong.. but the good news is that God used another tree to rescue us - the cross on which Jesus died - so we can be forgiven if we say sorry!
Stars in the night sky
After this, Abram had a vision and heard the Lord say to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I will shield you from danger and give you a great reward. Look at the night sky and try to count the stars ; you will have as many descendants as that."
Genesis 15 vs 1 + 5
The picture of the star reminds us of the fact that God always keeps His promises as well as the fact that God wants us to be a part of His HUGE family - which is bigger than the number of all the stars in the sky - we just have to ask Him!
A special son
Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
Genesis 37 vs 3,4,23,24
The picture of Joseph's coat reminds us that Jesus knows what it feels like to be let down and hurt by people He cared about... However it didn't stop Him loving them then and He loves us today even if we don't always get it right!
Hero to the rescue
So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah. Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!
Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said. “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.”
Ruth 2 vs 17, 19 & 20
The picture of the corn reminds us that Boaz went the extra mile to look after Ruth and that Jesus did the same .. but on a much bigger world-wide scale... He didn't have to, but He provided EVERYTHING we need!
A Shepherd King
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”
When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.
2 Samuel 5 vs 1-3
The picture of the crown reminds us that Jesus is the King of Kings but He also cares for us like a shepherd, watching out for us, protecting us and providing for us EVERY DAY!
Mordecai answered, “Do not think that you in the king’s special house will live any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep quiet at this time, help will come to the Jews from another place. But you and your father’s house will be destroyed. Who knows if you have not become queen for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to say to Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and have them all go without food so they can pray better for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my women servants will go without food in the same way. Then I will go in to the king, which is against the law. And if I die, I die.” So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had told him.
Esther 4 vs 13-17
The picture of the sceptre reminds us that when Esther went to see the king, she had to wait to see if he would hold out the sceptre towards her. If he did she would live - if he didn't she would die. Esther was prepared to die for her friends... Jesus was prepared to die for you and me!
A Great Light!
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9 vs 2 & 6
The picture of the sun reminds us that the sun always rises and that Jesus came to bring light into the darkness!
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the
yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 11 vs 6-9
The picture of the wolf and the lamb together, reminds of the amazing world God made, before we humans broke it. God will one day restore that amazing world and because of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, we will be able to enjoy it with Him ... something to look forward to!
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
Jonah 3 vs 1-5
The picture of the whale reminds us to follow God and obey what He asks us to do, so that we can help other people to get to know Him to!
God is with us!
So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den.
At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Daniel 6 vs 16,19-21,23
The picture of the lion reminds us that God is with us even in the most frightening times! Like Daniel in the lions den we can be brave because we know that we have a God who is more powerful than ANYTHING this world can throw at us!
The Place Promised
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah,out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
Micah 5 vs 2 & 4
The picture of the Bethlehem reminds us that God ALWAYS keeps His promises and that He ALWAYS has a plan. Bethlehem was the chosen location for phase 1 of God's rescue plan for you and me!
But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, he will go on before the Lord, — to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time
Luke 1 vs 13 -19
The picture of the praying hands reminds us that is good to make time to stop talking and LISTEN, especially to listen to what God is saying to us! What is He saying to you this advent?!
A New Normal
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her
Luke 1 vs 30 - 36, 38
The picture of Mary reminds us of how brave she was with her "yes" to God. We should try and be brave like her and do what God asks us to do!
Do Not Be Afraid!
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 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. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”)
Matthew 1 vs 18-23
The picture of Angel reminds us that God wants us to be part of His story too, all we have to do is choose to follow Him. God's plan for us is AMAZING, let's not say "no thank you" to His gift to each one of us!
A Long Journey!
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line 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,
Luke 2 vs 1-6
The picture of sandals reminds us of the journey which Mary and Joseph went on that first Christmas, ... full of hope, excitement and also concern for the arrival of Jesus. As we get excited about celebrating Christmas, let's spend a bit of time thinking about the first Christmas and what an amazing thing it is that God came down to earth and look forward to the day when He will come back again!
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Luke 2 vs 10-12, 15-16