Thursday, December 6, 2012

preparing our hearts with a little tree

There is a busyness that comes with this season that's exhilarating. The joy of spending special time with family and friends.  The excitement of finding the perfect gift. The wonder in our children's faces as they spy the lights and decorations and anticipate Christmas morning.  

But all of this bustling and hurrying and doing can lead to missing everything. In an effort to "get it all done" we miss it. Advent is a celebration of Jesus and His coming. Of a King who made himself a baby to rescue the world. Who stepped into the chaos of our world to give us ultimate rest and peace.

There is a beautiful tension in advent. It's the celebration that what we've needed has come and and anticipation and longing for Christ to come again. We want to be intentional in preparing our hearts as a family for this baby King and recognizing his ultimate place in our lives.


Since our kids were little we have celebrated Advent with the Jesse Tree in an effort to create this kind of space. The Jesse Tree is named out of Isaiah 11:1: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse...  It is a vehicle to tell the story of God's redemptive plan since the beginning of time. I love that this tradition focuses on the entire story of God's great rescue plan and not just Christ's birth. Beginning with creation, every day we walk through stories of how God rescued and redeemed his people; stories of Abraham, Noah, Ruth, David, and Nehemiah. My kids can see God weaving together his plan and faithfulness across thousands of years of history.


We use this sweet little book, The Advent Jesse Tree by Dean Meadow Lambert. There are a ton of resources out there but I found this to be the best fit for our family. I love that it includes readings for children and adults along with scripture, songs, prayers, and questions for little hearts. We made our own ornaments out of the wood pieces you get at crafting stores and had to Mod Podge a few of the more unique ones. (Don't judge Joseph's coat of many colors/Hawiian Aloha shirt).


If you're wanting to do this yourself, the resources available are infinite. There are some families who get together to have a Jesse Tree swap, each choosing an ornament to make and creating multiples to share. There are printable versions of devotions and ornaments and Etsy and Pinterest are full of ideas. One quick caution: there are some variables to the devotions and ornaments so make sure they match whatever you choose. Below is our list: 


Each evening Isabelle and Jackson eagerly anticipate finding the handmade ornament hidden somewhere in the room, hanging it on our Jesse Tree, and hearing the story of God's redemption. Isabelle reads a portion of scripture from her Bible, Jamy reads the devotion, and we're quietly reminded that we can rest because Christ has come.  

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking about doing this. Thanks for sharing! Love it!

    ReplyDelete

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