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In December I’d like to highlight special programming — faith forming events that happen alongside or in place of Sunday school to form the faith of kids, teens, and adults. If your church offers special programming during Advent or any other time of the year I’d love to share your story. Contact me at [email protected]

This Sunday at Prairie Edge CRC a barren tree stood on stage in the worship center. Later that night kids, teens, and adults came together to sing, share a meal, and reflect on the promise of God to send a savior. Two adults and a teenager presented a skit set the year of Jesus’ birth. It featured three friends hanging out at the gate to Jerusalem, talking about the census and the line of David. Then busy hands worked to decorate Biblical symbols to make the barren tree into a Jesse Tree that would stay in the worship space all throughout Advent.

A Jesse Trees is an artistic way of representing the story of Jesus the Messiah using images or symbols from the genealogy of Christ. The tree motif comes from the passage in Isaiah 11:1-10 that begins, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” For centuries Christians have depicted this family tree of Jesus in the stain glass windows and carvings found in cathedrals and monasteries.

Prairie Edge CRC used plans from WE: Expectations to help create their Jesse Tree. As each table group finished their story symbols Pastor Philip Kok called them forward to briefly describe each story and how it connects to Christ’s coming. Then they hung the symbols like ornaments on the tree.

About 150 people participated in the special Advent event, representing about half of the congregation.

Does your church offer special programming for Advent? If so, tell us about it!  


The Jesse tree is a wonderful Idea that helps us celebrate the season of Advent.  I wonder if, instead of wishing everyone a Merry Christmas during Advent, we could wish each other Thoughtful Advent?  Then at Christmas, we could drop the name Christmas.  It is the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and it lasts 12 days.  Could we claim back the season for Christ by wishing everyone Merry Nativity?  And  before the Nativity Eve service wew could begin to turn the Jesse Tree into a Nativity Tree by adding symbols and figurines that have to do with Christ's birth?

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