Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jesse Advent Tree

I love Christmas time and everything that is so special about leading up to the big day. I remember as a child we would always light the advent candles and sometimes do a reading around the table as a family. Sometimes we would sing a hymn (maybe that was just once...I love hymns and was super excited about it). I have been meaning to start an advent tradition for years now but it seems like by the time I would think of it, December was half over and then it was too late. 

This year I got an early jump on things, thanks to some inspiration from a blog I read. Her family does a Jesse Tree with ornaments for each day that represent the journey from creation to Jesus' birth. I ordered a neat book from Amazon and spent a few days in November collecting ornaments to be all ready by December 1st. 

The Ann Voskamp book is the one I'm using and it is really beautiful and has nice devotionals. The pictures are lovely and the stories are easy to read and not too lengthy, but with a good message. It also has a bible reading and discussion questions for each day, geared towards families and children. It was only about $15 on amazon and worth it- so lovely! 

I decided to put my ornaments in brown kraft bags so Michael could unwrap one every day. I also labeled them with the date and sealed them with tape. We hung them on a twine line in our dining room window, all pretty nice in a row. It took me a while to gather ornaments and figure what days in the book needed what type of ornament. There is no set list so you just have to look through the story and see what ornament would represent the theme of that day. There is one main illustration to represent each day and I tried to coordinate with that, although sometimes it had to be different. 

I used a small, two foot tabletop tree for our ornaments. I wanted it to be small so it could go on a table but I could have easily used a larger tree (something to think about in the future). I've also seen ornaments hung on a line or on the regular Christmas tree. 

So far Michael has been excited about opening up his ornament each day when he gets home from school. He likes to look ahead in the book and see what the pictures for the next day look like. He also likes to hang them on the little tree and make it his own. We have been reading the stories right after school or at dinner if we are all eating together. I am really enjoying the devotionals and I hope Michael is getting a little something out of it also. I think it will be a neat tradition to continue for years! 

I will have to update you again with some of the ornaments I chose for the days- I found some really cute ones especially at World Market. It was a little bit of work to get it assembled for this year but I think it will be easier next year as I am saving everything- even the little bags-so I can just pack it all up and get it out again in the future. I hope this advent activity helps us to keep our eyes on the real meaning of Christmas and the excitement that is Jesus' birth. 

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