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Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 5 Advent Jesse Tree

Today is Day 5 of the Advent Calendar Jesse Tree devotions. The symbol, or ornament, for Day 5 is that of a lamb.

The scriptures are Genesis 22:1-19 which is the account of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac; and

Isaiah 53:7 - "He was abused and punished, but he didn't open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He was like a sheep that is silent when its wool is cut off. He didn't open his mouth."

John 1:29 - "John saw Jesus coming toward him the next day and said, "Look! This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."; and

1 Peter 1:19 - "Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections."

The Old and New Testament readings tie each other together by explaining that God tested Abraham's faith by asking him to sacrifice the son he had been promised. When God saw that Abraham would obey God even unto death, He stopped the sacrifice of his son and substituted a ram that God had supplied on the mountain. This was a foreshadowing of what would take place with the sacrifice of the promised Messiah, who died to take away the guilt of our sins.

The Advent Jesse Tree book points out:

It is interesting to note that the place Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac (Mt. Moriah) was the exact mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon's temple was built. When Christ died on Calvary, the veil of the Temple was torn, symbolizing the final end of the sacrificial system. Today the Moslem mosque, the Dome of the Rock, is located on this site.

Activity: The lesson and idea of a father being asked to kill a son is a hard one to share with children. It's a difficult concept that sin causes death including the death of an animal for a sacrifice for those sins. But, then add to it that God promises a son to Abraham and then asks him to sacrifice that son. Of course, God knew all along death would not come to Isaac through the hand of his father. It was an ultimate test for Abraham: Would he obey God or did he love the gift of his son, Isaac, more than he loved God who gave the gift. This Bible Lesson by Suite 101 is really a cute way to get this hard lesson across. It has a Red Light, Green Light game and even a recipe for an edible altar.

Today's ornament for the Jesse Tree is the symbol of a lamb. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind in making an ornament of a lamb is cotton balls. So, be creative. There are other options as well. Here's a nice fluffy lamb ornament from Kaboose.com. And, Joshclay.com describes how to make one out of polymer clay.