December 19, 2020

Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot – yes, a new branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  Isaiah 11:1-2 (NLT)  “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will fulfill the good promise I made. . . I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line.”    Jeremiah 33:14-15

Notes for adults and older children: 

Multiple prophecies in the Old Testament pointed to a descendent of king David who would be the savior. The image of a tender branch growing from an old stump is reminiscent of life coming forth from the tomb and new birth transforming a sorrowful person filled with regret. Jesus’ coming brought a fresh perspective on God’s love and mercy. 

Notes for young children:

Many years before Jesus was born, God gave promises in the Bible about what Jesus would be like and what he would do. He was going to help people understand God and how to be right with God. One of the promises was that Jesus would be like a little shoot or branch that grew out of an old tree stump that looked dead. What God was saying was that even when things looked very bad and people were tired of waiting for Jesus to come, they still could trust God to make it happen. Today we are not waiting any longer for God’s promise to come true. When Jesus was born he was the answer to God’s promise. Now as we wait for Christmas to come this year we can appreciate the importance of trusting God while we wait. 

Prayer:

Father, even when our circumstances look bad, we know we can trust you to keep your promises. Please help us believe that you will always love us and that you will give us peace as we trust you. 

Advent activities:

For the whole family: Go outside and see if you can find a little branch or shoot that is growing where you wouldn’t expect it to grow (for example, where a tree has been cut down but a branch has started to grow out of it). If you can’t find such a branch, snip a blossom or berry that gives proof that growth goes on even in autumn or winter. Put the little shoot or sprig in water and place it where you can be reminded that God keeps his promises – there is a reason to  hope!

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