Family Tree Christmas VBS

Family Tree Christmas VBS Christmas Tree Collage

Family Tree Christmas Collage is a theological reflection on the genealogy of Jesus and our adoption into the family of faith through the sacrament of baptism. The art project builds on the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17 and/or Luke 3: 23-38 together with the significance of baptism in Ephesians 4:4-6 and Galatians 3:27-28. The collage art project includes layers that connect the story each child’s family with the genealogy of Jesus through the sacrament of baptism.
Materials List
·         Corrugated cardboard cut into squares (sample shown is 8-1/2”x 8-1/”) for the backing/base
·         Scrapbook, card stock, or wrapping paper cut into strips in varying widths
·         Christmas tree shape sized to nearly fill the cardboard backing
·         Rubber stamps—handmade or store bought
·         Ink pads various colors
·         Acrylic paint various colors
·         Decorative ribbon, glitter, and embellishments
·         Christmas music
·         Genealogy of Jesus from Matthew 1 or Luke 3
·         Wood shapes—squares and stars
·         Bailing wire to make a hanger for the completed piece
·         Optional—miniature photos of family members to glue onto the collage
·         Mod Podge, scissors, paintbrushes, and cotton swabs
·         Hairdryer to force dry between layers
Begin by creating the background layer which includes portions of the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew or Luke, strips of music from a favorite Christmas carol, miniature photos of the child’s family. The cardboard can be left exposed in places or the entire piece may be covered with a piece of decorative paper. Letters also can be used to stamp the name of the child’s family and/or the names of the Trinity and the family of faith. Use acrylic to add a light coat of paint over the basic background collage. To make the tree, find a Christmas tree shape on the internet that can be sized and used a template to glue strips of paper. Once the tree is covered and the glue has dried, hold the paper up to a window so it is backlit and cut out the exterior shape of the tree.

Glue the tree onto the background and add embellishments as desired. Stamp words on the background and/or tree that express the feelings of Christmas and the relationship to the Trinity. For a three-dimensional feeling, paint wooden shapes and use them as packages under the tree or as a star atop the tree or in the sky.

Making a custom stamp out of Styrofoam also adds depth. Use a dull pencil to draw a simple shape like a star, cross, or snowflake; add drops of acrylic paint into the recessed areas and spread with a fine paint brush; then “stamp” the image on the collage. Clean up excess paint using a cotton swab. Use a piece of bailing wire to create a simple hanger for the completed piece. When the art is done say, “Tell me about your family tree,” have the children share their stories.

Rubber stamp reflection

As a simple way to express what you are thinking and feeling, use theological words that you have cut out of eraser and/or wine corks and "rubber stamp" these words onto a journal page that you have previously painted a background wash with watercolor. In-between the stamped words you can write about the people, places, and experiences that the rubber stamped words relate to.
As part of a Celebrate Recovery activity, I asked everyone to choose words that reflect where they are in their journey on the 12-step program in dealing with their hurts, habits, and hang-ups. The words could be an area they were working on in the future or something that reflected a triumph from a step they had completed. The words also could reflect a prayer. Worship music videos were playing in surround sound during the 10-12-minute period of listening, prayer, and theological reflection interacting with the journal page. In the sample here, I used pages I had previously painted with three layers of watercolor and then splattered with bits of the same colors using a toothbrush to "spray" the paint. I was reflecting on my desire to be a holy and grace-filled presence through my actions (and inactions) and response (and non-response) in my Celebrate Recovery journey for step #6 (We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. "Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up." James 4:10). Then I filled in the areas around the stamped words "GRACE" and "HOLY" with specific ways I am willing to humble myself before the Lord and allow God to remove particular defects of character. I realized after journaling around the original stamped words that the benefit would bring peace, so I added PEACE in the shape of a cross in the center of the page.