Advent is a wonderful time to offer an opportunity for intergenerational learning and activity. This year help families and other church members prepare for a meaningful celebration of Advent and Christmas. Form a committee to plan an intergenerational event for celebrating the beginning of Advent and making Jesse Tree ornaments.
Plan your event for the afternoon/evening of the first Sunday of Advent (or a day close to). Publicize the schedule ahead of time, so that people may put it on their calendars early.
To cover costs for this event, choose one or a combination of the following: receive a free-will offering with some suggested guidelines for cost, offer the event on a per-family cost basis, or charge on a per-item basis. Share the information about cost when you advertise the event.
JESSE TREE KIT
You'll need one kit for each family unit (single, couple, parents or guardians with children, grandparents with grandchildren). In each kit (use a large envelope or gallon-size Zip-loc® bag for the holder) place the assorted shapes, the symbols, a copy of the two-page handout with instructions for making Jesse Trees and Jesse Tree ornaments, and a copy of the Jesse Tree Devotions.
Materials needed depends on how you make the ornaments. See the suggestions for making the ornaments for materials you'll need. You may want to provide materials for making the ornaments using two or more of the ways suggested.
4:00 to 4:15 p.m.
Welcome and Introduction to Event
4:15 to 5:30 p.m.
Make Jesse Tree Ornaments
5:30 to 6:15 p.m.
Soup, Salad, or Sandwich Supper
6:15 to 6:30 p.m.
Short Break for Clean-up
6:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Intergenerational Advent Worship
4:00 to 4:15 p.m.: WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION TO EVENT
As participants arrive, welcome each one and invite them to sit in chairs that have been arranged for the introduction to the event. After everyone has gathered in the meeting area, introduce them to the schedule for the afternoon and evening. Then explain what a Jesse Tree is and describe the ornament-making activity. Point out the Jesse Tree that you have set up in your fellowship/work area. Remind the participants that they can read the Scripture passage and/or a story from a Bible storybook before hanging the Jesse Tree ornaments on a tree branch. Give each family unit a Jesse Tree kit and dismiss them to work areas to make the ornaments.
4:15 to 5:30 p.m.: MAKE JESSE TREE ORNAMENTS
Arrange work tables so that participants can move freely from table to table. Set out supplies on the work tables for the ornament-making options you have chosen for this event. You'll probably want to cover the table to protect the work surface. Seasonal music may be a nice background while working. Remember to provide time for clean-up (sticky hands).
5:30 to 6:15 p.m.: SOUP, SALAD, OR SANDWICH SUPPER
To make preparation for this event as simple as possible, serve a simple supper of soup and salads or soup and sandwiches. Provide beverages and place settings. Ask participants to bring a plate of their favorite cookies to share for dessert. P(erhaps a church group--youth group, women's group, men's group, small study group, etc.--would like to provide supper as a fundraiser.)
6:15 to 6:30 p.m.: SHORT BREAK FOR CLEAN-UP
Invite everyone to lend a helping hand with clean-up after the meal. This makes it possible for everyone to participate in the intergenerational worship service.
6:30 to 7:00 p.m.: INTERGENERATIONAL ADVENT WORSHIP
Close the evening by gathering in the chancel area of your sanctuary or in any other worshipful setting in your church. The brief Advent worship service is for all ages. Young children (and any others who wish to) can sit on the floor. Be sure to move the Jesse Tree from the work area to your worship area. Place the Jesse Tree in front of the group.
This service can be a very important and appreciated part of the Advent event. It is quiet and intimate, and offers an opportunity for the church family to worship together and begin the Advent season with a Christ-centered focus.
ORDER FOR WORSHIP
Christ is coming soon. Let us prepare our hearts.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting, a time of anticipation and preparation for the coming of Jesus.
During Advent we remember some of the people who came before Jesus and who waited and hoped for his birth.
One way we remember is by using a Jesse Tree. Each day we hang a symbol on the Jesse Tree to remember those people who were part of Jesus' family.
Today we hang on the Jesse Tree the symbol of a stump with a branch to help us remember Isaiah, the prophet.
(Invite a child to hang on the Jesse Tree the symbol of a stump with a branch.)
Isaiah said, "A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." (Isaiah 11:1)
Thank you, God, for Isaiah, who told of the Savior's coming.
Isaiah 11:1-2 and Matthew 1:1-6, 17
"The Prophets Came to Israel," verse 1 (Songs for LiFE, # 128); "Prepare the Way of the Lord" (Songs for LiFE, # 124 or Sing With Me, #84); or "Toda la tierra/All Earth is Waiting" (Sing! A New Creation, #93)
Write your own meditation, based on the Isaiah and Matthew Scripture selections.
Invite participants to offer sentence prayers.
"Come, Lord Jesus" (Sing! A New Creation, #103); "O Come, O Come, Immanuel" (Sing With Me, #81); "Come, Though Long-Expected Jesus" (Sing With Me, #83); or "People in Darkness Are Looking for Light" (Sing With Me, #85)
Go in peace. Walk in the light of the Lord.
Written by Willa Brown.