observing advent is not a requirement, though for us advent is a time that has helped us as a family re-focus on the reason why we celebrate christmas at all. for our children, observing advent by means of the jesse tree has helped keep them (especially ty) from being overly focused on the consumerist aspects of the holiday season.
our jesse tree is the first new christmas tradition out of three that we have started this year (i'll cover the other two another time).
i originally had planned on starting a jesse tree two years ago after coming across shannon's post about her jesse tree, but for some reason never got around to it. well, i know the reason...i wanted to make my own ornaments and by the time i got it together christmas was literally around the corner.
if you are not familiar with the jesse tree, it is an advent calendar of sorts but includes daily scripture reading beginning from creation all the way to the birth of Jesus. the purpose of the jesse tree is to bring the focus on the true meaning of christmas, why we celebrate it, and to show how all the old testament prophecies point to the coming of Jesus.
we used the daily scripture and devotionals from here, though there are many other resources you can use (or augment or make your own devotionals to suit the unique needs of your family). simple mom provides you with a simple explanation and how-to along with links to other jesse tree resources.
the majority of our ornaments are based on the pictures from the devotionals site and most are made from felt. most turned out great, though there are some that i'll re-make again for next year. our tree is simply a twig with lots of branches (for ornament hanging) placed in a big mug with brown paper to hold it up. i like the understated simplicity of the twig and how well it displays the ornaments.
we all have learned a lot during our special jesse tree time. you can often hear emma eagerly ask what we'll be learning today for our jesse tree, and it makes me smile to see such eagerness! with tyler, we have had some great discussions following the scripture reading, and he has surprised us on a few occassions with some of his responses.
one of the best things about this new tradition is the meaningful time we are able to spend together as a family. we are so glad we can incorporate this new tradition into our christmas celebration!
originally posted 12.19.2009