Saturday, December 3, 2011

Celebrating Advent

 Tis the season to begin celebrating Christmas and not have stones cast at you.  Kidding, but for real, I have lots of friends who are very anti-anything Christmas before Thanksgiving.  This past week at MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) we had a guest speaker Jen who came to speak about traditions.  She was specifically speaking about the importance of traditions in the family year round but she also mentioned several of her family's Christmas and Holiday traditions. 
 One of the traditions that she spoke about was the "Jesse Tree," which is essentially a Christmas tree where there is a new ornament placed on the tree everyday of the season and there is scripture that goes with it.  The scriptures take you and your family from the beginning with creation to the birth of Jesus. I grew up in a family that only went to church on Easter and Christmas and this was something that I had never heard of and immediately knew that I would like it.  The concept of keeping the season so focused on what truly matters and the anticipation of the celebration of Christ on Christmas day.  I knew that we needed to start this tradition and we needed to start it this year-- let me remind you that Tuesday was November 29th and the advent season typically starts on December 1st.

Thankfully she also shared that Ann Voskamp has free Jesse Tree printables on her blog.  If you haven't heard of Ann Voskamp, she is a fabulous author and her most recent book "One Thousand Gifts" climbed to the top of the charts.   You can find her blog/website here. Once you subscribe to the blog, you can get access to the free printables for the Jesse Tree.  The printables include picture cut outs that you can use as ornaments and also devotions and scripture to go with each day.  I cut out the ornaments and attached them to some scrapbook paper and added a ribbon to hang them on the tree.  Most people use a separate small tree for their Jesse Tree but due to it being last minute and not entirely in the budget, we're just adding the ornaments to our regular Christmas tree.  It really works out for us too considering I limited the ornaments on our tree this year since the ones we have are glass and I didn't want them in tiny hands. 

It is going really well so far!  At almost 20 months old, Leeland is still a little young to completely understand but he truly does love to read and hear stories and he loves the Christmas tree.  We sit and read the devotions before bedtime and then he and Daddy add the ornament to the tree together.  I think it will be so much fun to see how he comprehends and gets more and more into it each year.  I know that it is going to be a precious time that we look forward to each Christmas season. 

A special thank you to Jen for sharing about the Jesse Tree and also to Ann Voskamp for the awesome devotions and printables!

Lastly for this season, just for Daniel and I-- our yearly tradition is a candy advent calendar.  This calendar I got at Starbucks a few years ago and I buy candy to refill the drawers each year.
Hope you all are enjoying advent as much as we are!

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