Merry Christmas! Today we put the final ornament on our Jesse Tree. It tells the whole story of the Bible over the Advent period, as we remember Jesus’ first coming and look forward to his second. There are lots of different versions, but below is the one I’ve developed over the past few years, aiming to narrate the story as a cohesive whole. (NB we actually only have 24 ornaments – we lost the one for Jacob.)
[Trefoil] In the beginning, there was God, the Father, Son and Spirit.
[Globe] Out of his great love, God created the whole world – the sea, the land, the birds, the stars, the animals, humans. And after God had made the woman he said that it was very good.
[Apple] But Adam and Eve believed the snake’s lie that God didn’t really love them, and they ate the fruit and that’s when things started to go bad.
[Ark with rainbow] Things got so bad that God had to wash the world clean with a flood. But he saved Noah and his family and the animals. And he put a rainbow in the sky to promise that he would never destroy the world again.
[Shooting star] Then God started again, with Abraham. He promised him that he would have as many children as stars in the sky, that they would be his people and he would be their God, and that they would be a blessing to all people.
[Coloured coat] Abraham had a son Isaac, who had a son Jacob, and one of Jacob’s sons was called Joseph. And Joseph was a blessing to all people as God had promised, providing food in Egypt during a big famine.
[Sheep] Years later though, God’s people were made slaves in Egypt and they called out to God, “Help us!” God sent the angel of death and told his people to put the blood of lambs on their door posts so that the angel would pass over them and they would be safe.
[Tablets] Then God led his people out into the desert where he gave them the 10 Commandments, which help us to know God and his good way to live.
[Rope] But God didn’t just save his own people. He also saved Rahab the Canaanite.
[Wheat] And Ruth the Midianite, who was the grandmother of King David, and the great great great great great grandmother of Jesus.
[Crown with staff] David was a shepherd king just like Jesus.
[Gate] God’s people kept forgetting that God loved them, so bad things kept happening. They even had to go on a very long time-out in Babylon.
[Sunburst] But God was still with them, and he sent the prophets to say, “Jesus the king is coming and will make everything right!”
[Angel] Then finally an angel came to Mary with the good news that the time had arrived.
[Wrapped up baby] And Jesus was born!
[Dove] Jesus was just like us, so he was baptised. And a dove came down from Heaven and a voice said, “This is my son, whom I love. I am pleased with him.”
[Hand] Jesus was special too. He had all God’s power and authority to heal and do miracles and tell people that he is God’s king.
[Cross] Jesus died to defeat all the badness in the world.
[Lightening bolt] And he came back to life to bring all the goodness to us.
[Cloud] Then he went up in the clouds to see the Father and rule with him as King.
[Fire] He sent his Holy Spirit at Pentecost to be with his people and help them.
[People with linked hands] The Holy Spirit makes the church whose job it is to show and tell about Jesus.
[Sword] Jesus will come again to put an end to all the bad things in the world.
[Big crown] He will make everything new and we will be safe with him forever in the new creation.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.