Advent idea

Thanksgiving is done but I hope we are not done with giving thanks!  Especially as the season of celebrating Jesus is upon us. 

As a Mom, I wrestle each year with wanting Christmas to really be about CHRIST and not about shopping and wish lists and where to spend what with whom and why.  I love the trappings of the season (well, not all of them) but my heart would really rather unplug the Christmas machine and just focus on Jesus.  I have tried various things through the years to keep my family's eyes on the REASON for the SEASON.  Some have worked.  Such as limiting gifts, sticking to a budget, reading the Christmas story, having traditions that are family centered, directing our attention to service projects, and trying to manage our schedule so that we eat and sleep well enough to stay healthy. Other ideas didn't stick around long enough for anybody to recall them.  'Nough said.

This year, I am excited about how we plan to observe Advent. Our family has done a few different things in years gone by, but this year we will have a new idea.  I came to the Advent observation later in life, as we didn't focus on this season in my growing up church.  Not that I grew up deprived and need to go on the Jerry Springer show to air my disadvantage but I do think I missed out.  This is a beautiful season of preparation for Christmas...the real meaning of Christmas.  There are certainly as many different ways to observe advent as there are hearts to be prepared but I want to share what we will do, beginning on the first Sunday in December.  The Jesse Tree.

The Jesse Tree gets its name from the prophecy about the coming Savior in Isaiah 11:1 - "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit."  Here, the prophet Isaiah gave God's people the news that their Savior would be from the line of David, the son of Jesse. It represents the genealogy of Christ.  The stem, the branch, the Jesse Tree. 

Each day during Advent, the story of Christ and God's plan of salvation are traced from Genesis all the way to His birth, showing the Scarlet Thread that runs all the way through Scripture.  Reminding us that Calvary was not God's "Plan B" but rather His divine and merciful intention from the beginning of time.  An ornament, representing each particular Scripture, is placed on a tree branch, secured ( somehow!) in a pot, each day, culminating with the baby in the manger on Christmas Day.  A short devotional reading explains what the ornament symbolizes and demonstates the plan of salvation, the promise of the Messiah, all the way through the Old Testament.

Since I am not an advertiser, I won't provide any certain links but you can google it and find several different helps if you decide you want your crew to do something similar.  A group of women whom are very significant in my life joined forces this past Spring and we made each of ourselves a set of these ornaments for our own Jesse Trees.  As my ornaments are placed on my Jesse Tree this year, they will hold special meaning times two....reminding me not only of God's gift of Jesus, but also His gift to me of these treasured women.  He surely is good to me.

Merry Christmas!