Christmas is almost here and there are still five more ornaments to be made for the Jesse Tree. Our family Jesse tree is bulging with all the previous ornaments. Enjoy making your last set of ornaments.
DAY 21 DOVE
John the Baptist, the man of God telling us about the coming One, lives out in the wilderness and is clothed like a prophet and lives a life dedicated to the Lord. It is to John that Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem grown up, will come to be baptised. It is here by the Jordan River that God’s voice is heard saying, “ This is my Beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” And it is here that the Spirit descends in the form of a dove. John’s voice cries in the wilderness, thunders in the dry. But God Himself is the speaker. Can you hear the thunder? The good news of Jesus, the gospel, it always begins in the wildernesses, in the parched and thirsty places and it’s in our wildernesses that grace must find us. And repentance, changing our hearts and minds and ways, it can bring tears, and it comes like gentle rain to our cracked and hard hearts. Our sins are washed away in showers of grace, and new growth and hope sprouts, tender shoots. Grace, it comes, heaven’s water falling softly.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with him.”
DAY 22 HEART
That same angel Gabriel who came to Zechariah in the temple, he comes now to Mary in the quiet, and the glory story of Love making His way to us, that grace which God has begun, He carries it on to completion. There in almost forgotten Galilee, land bordered by a people who didn’t even believe in God, Gabriel whispers the impossible news: Mary, with the name that means exalted, Mary poor and long-ago descended from the line of King David, Mary will be made mother of the Messiah. God’s rescue near! The promise God made back in the beginning, at the Fall, in Eden, He’s keeping it and completing it and He’s coming, a Babe to Mary, the One who will crush the head of the enemy. God can do anything and He can come curl small in the womb of a young girl and the hands that slung all the stars across space, He can fill the womb of Mary who says yes, let me serve you, Lord. Mary a Girl with a surrendered heart bows humbly to the great plan of God. Nothing is impossible for God who is with us and God who is in us and God who works through us, and may all things happen just as God says. Grace could fill all our empty spaces today.
Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
DAY 23 ANGEL
Joseph is a man in the royal line of David and he’s a carpenter, a builder, a man who carries a hammer and nails and builds shelters and restores the broken down. And in the night while he sleeps, an angel comes to speak to him in a dream, because it’s when we’re still and wait quietly that we’re most likely to hear God whispering, “This is the Way.” “Take Mary as your wife,” the angel assures Joseph, because “she will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” The angel announces Jesus as our Saviour but we each still need to accept Him as our Saviour, and He is only Jesus who saves us because He is God who is with us — only God alone can save man. Jesus, son of the hammering man, he alone brought God and man together in one, that God might be with us and we might be with God and in Jesus all the happiness of our Garden beginning begins again because we are friends again with God. He is God with us. Because the carpenter’s Son will take the nail and a tree made into a cross, and He will rebuild us and restore us and all we who are broken down will find shelter in grace and make the heart of God home.
“…..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. 21 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.”
DAY 24 SANDALS
At that time, for such a time as this, now in the fullness of the long journey of time, God sends out an order for His Son to make His way into the world and God who has no beginning or no end, He travels into time to meet us as a helpless Babe. Joseph journeys with his Mary and God comes nearer and people round the globe push in closer, the whole of Earth waiting with bated breath, all the dusty world with all its heavy baggage journeying to Bethlehem tonight. We seek a deliverance of our own. But tonight there will be no room in the inn. Jesus comes as a traveler and if we follow Him, this world is not our home, but heaven is our destination, and we put on our shoes and go out into all the world, so more will hear of Him and journey with us to the cradle of the King.
24- Luke 2:1-5 (NIV)
1 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. 4 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.
DAY 25 STABLE SCENE
Luke 2:6-21 (NCV) Matt 2:1-12
6 While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, 7 and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.8 That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened. 10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.” 13 Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying: “Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” 15 When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in a feeding trough. When they had seen him, they told what the angels had said about this child. Everyone was amazed at what the shepherds said to them.19 But Mary treasured these things and continued to think about them. 20 Then the shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything they had seen and heard. It had been just as the angel had told them. Matt 2:1-12 Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king. When Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. 2 They asked, “Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, as were all the people in Jerusalem. 4 Herod called a meeting of all the leading priests and teachers of the law and asked them where the Christ would be born. 5 They answered, “In the town of Bethlehem in Judea. …..7 Then Herod had a secret meeting with the wise men and learned from them the exact time they first saw the star. 8 He sent the wise men to Bethlehem, saying, “Look carefully for the child. When you find him, come tell me so I can worship him too.” 9 After the wise men heard the king, they left. The star that they had seen in the east went before them until it stopped above the place where the child was. 10 When the wise men saw the star, they were filled with joy. 11 They came to the house where the child was and saw him with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their gifts and gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 But God warned the wise men in a dream not to go back to Herod, so they returned to their own country by a different way.
We are the ones amazed, because when we come quiet and look over the edge of the feed trough and look into the red wrinkled face wrapped there in swaddling clothes, we almost whisper, “Can this really be the Messiah, God with us?” For why in all the universe would the Creator God, who sculpted the mountains and cupped the waters of the world, come to us as a mere flailing Babe? And when we hear all the night air fill with the thrum of the angel wings and the night stars sing the refrain of the angels, “Glory, Glory, Glory to God in the Highest,” we can feel it burning in our hearts and we know, “Surely this Baby is the Son of God.”It’s for this moment the whole span of history rises, surges. For this, the Ancient of Days, made only the span of a Baby long. All the beads of our days have been strung and accomplished and we’ve read the whole epic drama of God’s story and hung all the symbols and now at the top of the tree — we hang the star. The starry hosts over the fields blink wonder over the God Child. The shepherds under them sing praise. And all peoples in all homes all around the world, we spin with Creation in the dance of the saved! Jesus here. God! With! Us! Love for us — and all the world! The angels will return to heaven. The shepherds will go to tell all the world the good gospel news. And soon…. even the star on the top of the tree will be packed away. But we will be like Mary, who does not leave, but long keeps all these things in her heart. And we too will keep Christ here, ponder Him in our hearts all the year round and because all things are in Him and from Him and to Him (Rom 11:36), we treasure our Jesus as the only true Gift ever given.
And every day, all year long, He invites us to unwrap more of His love.