November 30 – Jesse Tree Story Day 1
Welcome to the Discover One Thing Advent online Bible study. Coming out of the blur between Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a 1-day focus on family and thankfulness, growing shorter every year, followed by a 30-day focus on materialism—whoever buys the most wins, how are you doing today? What our culture is doing to Christmas makes it even more important to re-focus ourselves daily during this season. Take a breath or two and slow down for a moment with me.
The definition of Advent is the coming or arrival of someone who is important. But the coming we are preparing for is not just someone who is important. This someone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, of me, of you. On the Christian calendar, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, and that’s today!
Come with me on this daily journey of preparing our hearts for Christmas as we go through the Old Testament scriptures that pointed to Jesus. You can find the reading plan in one of the tabs above. Find a time where you can sit with God, undistracted, read these verses, and let God speak to you as you pick a verse to journal on. If you’re not familiar with the SOAP method of journaling and Bible study, check out the tab above.
In addition to my personal time with God reading these scriptures, my family will be going through Ann Voskamp’s “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift”, which is based on the same daily scriptures in a family-friendly format. If you have the book, you can also get free ornaments online for each day.
There are several options for discussion. You can grab a friend to do this study with you and keep you accountable, you can form or join a group (there’s one that meets at my house on Thursday mornings!), and/or you can discuss right here in the comments below.
And now, God, I pray for Your presence to all-encompass this Advent study, as I read Your Word and write, as those who are joining this study also read Your Word and journal, in our fellowship, in our comments below, in our families, and throughout our Christmas season. Help us to focus on You and the amazing gift You gave us.
READ: Introduction of the Jesse Tree in 1 Samuel 16:1-13 and Isaiah 11:1-10
1 Samuel 16:1-13. God sends Samuel to Jesse to identify which of his sons God has chosen to be king. Why did God choose the weakest of the brothers, David? As we begin preparations for Christmas, vs. 7 stands out to me.
Isaiah 11:1-10. We know between 1 Samuel and Isaiah that David became king, and then his son, and then his son…so how did Jesse’s family tree get to be a stump? And who is the Branch? Sunday school answer—JESUS! The Branch is able to grow because the Spirit of God is present in it, something that the later kings in the line of David may have been missing. Let’s breakdown the rest of this: verses 2-3 appear to list the characteristics of Jesus, but what about verses 4-10? We know that judgment will occur in heaven, and what’s being described in verses 6-10 surely does not match what we see in our world today. So, it appears to be talking about when Jesus comes again. I love the images in verse 10! What’s stopping the nations from rallying to Jesus right now? Or a bit closer to home, what’s stopping you from rallying to Jesus right now?
I spend a LOT of time making things pretty for Christmas—pulling out the decorations, decorating every room, wrapping presents, making Christmas cards, finding the best recipes and baking, etc. But if I don’t have love, I have nothing. It’s not the outward appearances of the season that please God; it’s the inward reflections, giving heart, striving to do my best in service to God—that pleases God.
You look at my heart! Help me to remember that as I make each physical preparation for Christmas, to serve as if I am serving You. God I pray that these preparations, the lists, the shopping, would not distract me from You, that I would not let distraction keep me from rallying to You.