..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Celebrating Advent

I can't believe it's December already!! With the busyness of the season, I have been thinking through ways that I can help keep the real meaning of the season before my children. Not that I have anything against Santa or Frosty but sometimes these things can overshadow celebrating the birth and saviour of our Lord Jesus. The light, who takes away the sins of the world! 

In doing so, I came across two great ideas in celebration of advent! The first being the  Jesse Tree (I found this idea at rocks in my dryer)!

I had never heard of a Jesse Tree before, but as I read more about it I loved the idea of helping the kids see how everything in the bible points to the coming of our Saviour. 

I love the way  The Story Book Bible captures that truth: "You see the best thing about this Story is--It's true. There are lots of stories in the bible, but all the stories are telling one BIG Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them."

Isn't that the truth! And such a simple one at that! ; )

The idea of the Jesse Tree comes from Isaiah 11:1 which says,
"A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots."

Jesse was the father of David, Israel's greatest king. Because of that, he is often thought of as the first person in the geneology of Jesus. To give you a little backdrop, God had promised a discouraged nation that a new King would rise up out of the family of Jesse to save them and rule the whole earth. If you've forgotten the story. Go back and read it. It's a great one! But more importantly, it points to the coming of Jesus; the fulfillment of that promise. It is decorated with reminders  or ornaments of how God prepared the world for the coming of our King Jesus who would reign forever and ever.

If you want to celebrate advent, the Jesse Tree is a simple and creative way the whole family can celebrate Jesus! My girls love it! Perhaps yours will too! 

Here's how it works:
To create our own Jesse Tree, we puchased a 4ft tree to display in our dining area. Beginning December 1st up until Christmas Eve, we will be reading a scripture/devotional each night that takes us through the Old Testament. 

As each story is told it describes the events OR members in Jesus' family beginning with the "root of Jesse" and ending with the birth of Christ. 

Following the scripture reading, we hang up an ornament that symbolizes that specific story. Sometimes, the girls will even act it out. Any chance to be dramatic and they're all over that!

For example, the first scripture/devotional read on December 1st is taken from the passage above, Isaiah 11:1. So, to symbolize the "stump of Jesse" we made an ornament of a tree. Below are the ornaments the girls made.

On December 2nd the story of creation is told. This is where your creativity comes in!  What reminds you of creation? Is it animals, the moon, the sun, a picture of a globe. You can use anything that helps you remember the scripture you read.

For the Jesse Tree Devotional click here.

For additional information on the history of the Jesse Tree click here or here.

Another great idea that I came across is.......

 The ADVENTure of Christmas. Here is another great way to celebrate advent and another great book by Lisa Whelchel! The ADVENTure of Christmas focuses on helping children find Jesus in our Holiday Traditions. 

It describes the significance behind each tradition such as hanging lights outside, the candy cane, christmas tree, ornaments, gift wrapping, etc…and describes how these customs relate to Jesus’ birth. 

For example, when hanging our Christmas tree I was able to share with the girls how the Tree reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. He died on a tree to forgive us of our sins so that we could live forever with Him. The branches remind us of how he stretched out his arms for us like the branches that need to be stretched out to hold our pretty christmas ornaments. The lights remind us that Jesus is the Light Of The World who takes away the the sins of the world.   

I had overlooked these simple explanations of our holiday traditions simply because I had grown accustomed to them. Have you?  In the ADVENTure of Christmas you'll even find simple ideas for little crafts to incorporate with each story. Take the time to reflect this season. May you see Christ in your Holiday Traditions and be captured by his love and beauty!


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