Our church is doing an incredible family devotion time emphasis during this season of Advent. This time of year is so special to me as we focus in on the advent of Jesus, his first coming. It’s so key for families to remind their children & students of the “reason for the season” beyond gifts & holiday hustle-bustle. Our children’s ministry team asked several of our church pastors, directors, leaders, laypeople, and students to write an Advent devotional for one day out of the entire Advent season. It’s been an awesome way for our church to get involved with writing & teaching. Secondly, it brings that connection between church & family that is so well-needed, encouraging parents to spend devotional time with their kids. I hope to see more of that in the future. The ornament & family activities come from The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children & Adults. I was excited at the opportunity and challenged to write a devotion that would be understandable for kids. I was asked to do Advent Day 13, with a prophecy about the shoot from the stump of Jesse. Check it out!
Isaiah 11:1-5 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD-
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
John 1:14a – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesse was an average father with 8 sons. Though his name may not be very familiar, Jesse’s place in the story of Jesus is hugely significant. David, his youngest son that he nearly overlooked, was later given the honor as the king of Israel. David could be described as having great “counsel and might,” delighting in the “fear of the Lord,” and certainly made tough decisions, judgments, and solved disputes (see verses 2-3). David was a great king. Years later, David had a son named Solomon, who also became king. Solomon could be described as having great “wisdom and understanding,” and was “full of knowledge” (see verses 2-3). Solomon was also a great king.
Jesse’s family tree was full of kings. Some good, some great. Some average, some terrible. But the story of Advent is about the hopeful expectation of the greatest king who ever lived and ever will live. In fact, he’s still living! It’s not David, the great conqueror. It’s not Solomon, the wise one. This King of Kings and Lord of Lords has ALL wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, righteousness, faithfulness, and knowledge. Where even the great kings like David and Solomon fell short, this King rises above in “glory, grace, and truth.” This King is Jesus.
And he came here to earth…for you, for me. Even all of us who are average Jesse’s get to participate in the story of Jesus. How is Jesus growing in your life? Is he springing from your very being? Is he your King? Is he your Lord? May you bear the fruit of faithfulness and righteousness coming from the King of Kings during this Advent season.
FAMILY ACTIVITY – Your children may have never heard of the word “shoot” used in this context. Find a plant that has new growth on it, and show your kids how the new leaf is “shooting” out from the branch. Explain to them that the shoot is sort of like a new baby on a family tree. In today’s verses, God promised that He would send a Baby (Jesus!) who would teach people to “do what is good and right”.
Crown – Cut out a crown from foil.
ORNAMENT – Stump and branch – Try to find a small branch with a ‘shoot’ coming out – maybe from your Christmas tree. If you can’t, just glue on a piece of bark and a small branch.
You can go to http://www.trinityworship.net/advent for all of the devotions!