December 7, 2012

The Redemption Tree - Our Advent Tradition

Before Addilyn was born I started looking into children's advent calendars and I found a few that were nice.  Most of them focused only on the story of Jesus birth.  What I was wanting was something more all encompassing.  The term advent  means "coming" and I wanted to focus on how the whole bible is about the two periods of waiting for Christ to come: 1) The long-awaited birth of the Messiah and
2) How we are currently waiting for His return to earth.

The closest thing I found was the Jesse Tree advent study.  Although this was good, I really wanted something with shorter lessons and more scripture.  I also wanted each lesson to point out how we can see Jesus in that particular bible story.  On top of all that, I wanted something that we could communicate clearly to our toddlers but use the same study for years to come and adapt how we teach it.  Pretty lofty expectations, hun?  Yeah, we looked and looked and could not find exactly what we wanted husband and I decided to put together our own advent study.  Three years later we have finally finished compiling it and this season we were able to begin our annual tradition.  Hurray!  Here are a few highlights.

We bound our reading materials into a book.  Each day we have scripture passages that have been already typed out and made to flow like a story, an ornament that matches the story, and a prayer that helps us to understand how the passage we read reveals Jesus.  All in all, these lessons are meant to remind us that Jesus came to redeem us.

Like I mentioned above, we have an ornament for each day.  We store the ornaments on this board and the kids get to pull it out and place it on our special "Redemption Tree."

Here are our different hand painted ornaments (please don't judge, I'm not an artist) and how we connect each story back to Jesus.

Day 1- The Great Story of Redemption (picture of our redemption tree)
"There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story."  The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them." - Jesus Story Book Bible
Day 2- Creation (picture of the world)
Jesus was with God in the beginning when he created the world.

Day 3- Fall of Man (heel crushing the snake)
Jesus is the promised one who came to conquer and crush Satan.

Day 4- A New Beginning (rainbow)
In the story of Noah and the flood God promises not to destroy the earth again by rain but even though we continue to sin we now can put our hope in Jesus redeem us.

Day 5- God's Promise (stars)

God always keeps his promises!  He fulfilled his covenant to Abraham by establishing the nation of  Israel through whom Jesus is a descendant and the promised king.

Day 6- God's Provides (ram)
The story of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac is one of my favorites because there are SO many parallels to Christ.  Our prayer for this day states, "Thank you God for providing Jesus, your one and only son, who carried his cross and served as the pure lamb that was required for the sacrifice to atone for our sins once and for all."

Day 7- Blessings and Assurance (ladder)
The story of Jacob and Esau and of Jacob's dream remind us that God is with us and that we can have confident assurance of the blessings that come through Jesus and should be grateful for God's mercy.

Day 8- God's Plan is Best (colorful coat)
Joseph, like Jesus, was betrayed by those closest to him for money, but we can have hope because we can see in these stories how God works in tragedies and his plan is the only one that has the perfect outcome!

Day 9- The Royal Promise (scepter)
Our prayer for this day states, "God thank you for sending your son Jesus through the line of Judah as you promised even though every person prior to Jesus sinned against you.  We are so thankful for your mercy and grace as we have sinned against you too."

Day 10- God's Plan is Best (baby Moses in a basket)
Through the story of Moses and the life of Christ it is amazing to see the details that God works together so that His plan comes about and give Him more glory.

Day 11- The Law (10 commandment)
Jesus was the only one who could keep the law, everyone else falls short which shows us our need for Him!

Day 12- Fear the Lord (red rope)
Our prayer for this day says, "Thank you for saving those who fear you and using them according to your purpose, especially knowing that Jesus was a descendant of Rahab and how you worked in her heart."

Day 13- A Faithful Follower (grain)
God's plan for redemption doesn't look like what we would  would have planned for ourselves.  God sent Jesus through the line of Ruth and Boaz demonstrating he uses people we sometimes would not expect.

Day 14- The Chosen One (oil)
The story of Samuel anointing David should dreaming us that God looks at our heart instead of our outward appearance and because of Christ we can have new hearts that strive to honor the Lord.

Day 15- The Brave Shepherd (sheep and crook)
David's sensitivity, humility, and bravery all foreshadow qualities that Jesus exemplified.

Day 16- The Good King (crown)
Our prayer for today says, "Help us to seek a heart like yours through the one and only perfect King Jesus who came from the line of David."     

Day 17- There is one True God (rocks on fire)
By reading the story of Elijah we can see how he stood firm in the faith and we can be inspired to share the truth of who Jesus is with others even when they don't want to believe.

Day 18- Obey God (whale)
Reading the story of Jonah helps us to realize the importance of obeying God and helps us to be thankful for Jesus when we fall short.

Day 19- Trust God (lion)
The story of Daniel should remind us to proclaim the truth of Jesus to all people and even if we face persecution.  We should strive in all circumstance to trust God in any situation that may come our way.

Day 20- A Holy Temple (temple)
The passage for today from Zechariah, Ezra, and Haggai should remind us to be thankful that we no longer have to worry about the temple being destroyed.  On the cross Jesus symbolized the temple being torn down and his resurrection symbolized the rebuilding of the temple.  If we are in Christ, our bodies now serve as the temple of God.

Day 21- One to Prepare the Way (Elizabeth pregnant with John the Baptist)
In the same way, John helped prepare people for Jesus, the Spirit of God softens our heart and prepares us to respond to the love and power of Jesus Christ!

Day 22- Heart of a Servant (heart)
Today, we are reminded by Mary's example to joyfully serve you no matter what you ask of us.

Day 23- The Carpenter's Son (hammer and nail)
Joseph trusted God when what seemed to be impossible was taking place.  We can be reminded to thank God for sending Jesus to be “God with us.”

Day 24- Journey to Bethlehem (sandals)

God shows us through the fulfillment of prophecies (including the location of the birth of the Savior) that Jesus is the one the Israelites had been waiting on.

Day 25- Birth of Jesus Christ (Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus)
Our prayer today is, "God THANK YOU for sending your son Jesus!  Without him we would have no hope!  We are so thankful for what was done in his life and death on our behalf!"


MelissaGS said...

Do you have a PDF of your advent study? Sounds like exactly what I want for my family!

Anonymous said...

Would you be willing to share your readings and study? It looks like something our family would enjoy.

Josh, Amanda, Addilyn, and Josiah Kelly said...

Hey friends- My family is currently (November 11-17, 2013) having a silent auction to raise money for our adoption. We are selling electronic copies of our advent study for $3.00. Check it out by clicking here-

Feel free to bid on other items too!

Anonymous said...

just found your blog, a day late for the auction!!! I would really love to purchase an electronic copy of your advent calendar... would love to donate! please let me know how I can do that!

Anonymous said...

I am also late for your auction. Would you be willing to sell me an electronic copy as well? This looks to be what we have been searching for also. Our children are still very young and we want them to grow up knowing the true meaning of Christmas. Please let me know.

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