Monday, December 9, 2013

{12 Days of Christmas Traditions} Day Six: Jesse Tree

First off, Avery found Buddy (our "Elf on the Shelf")  - she's a big fan.  Taylor put him inside of a roll of toilet paper yesterday, and she thought that was the funniest thing ever.  I love that we don't have to be super elaborate with where we hide him because apparently even sitting behind a picture frame is super special. :)

We're onto Day Six: Our Jesse Tree.  Halfway done, but at this rate I won't finish 12 before Christmas.  (Psst - there might not even be 12 things...we'll see!) But this one is the best for keeping our hearts focused on Jesus' birth this Christmas season instead of presents!

And how appropriate because the other day Avery came up to me and said, "I want presents!" I couldn't believe this was coming out of my 20 month old's mouth.  Especially since this is only her second Christmas and I'm pretty sure all she can remember of her first was well, nothing.  I was quickly relieved when the next thing out her mouth was, "I want cake!" And I realized she had seen the birthday gift I had set out on our hall bookcase so that I would remember to deliver it later that day to a friend. Ha! She cracks me up.  I wish you could hear how she says presents, it's so cute. But I digress...

Growing up, my mom implemented the Jesse Tree as our advent calendar of sorts, and it is my favorite tradition that we do with our kids.  (If I lived in Houston, I'd dig out an old photo from my parents house displaying our Jesse Tree and my unfortunate 1980s hair choices.) I know it will get better and better as they get older and can understand it more (the Jesse Tree tradition not my hair, though I have to say it's much improved from that severely misguided perm), but basically each day we go through part of the old testament anticipating the coming Messiah and watching God's plan for mankind unfold. It begins with a tender shoot of hope,

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch (Jesus!) will bear fruit.  
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him - the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord."  
Isaiah 11:1-2 (NIV) 

When the kingly line of David seems to have ended, when it seems that God's promise in the Old Testament of a Messiah has been forgotten, a shoot springs up.

Each evening (or morning and evening when we get behind!!), we look at the scriptures together as a family using Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree ebook as a guide, tracing God's plan for Jesus' advent into our world.  There is a corresponding ornament to go with each day that the kids take turns hanging on our Jesse Tree.  Click on my sidebar link to get to Ann's site, A Holy Experience - in year's past, if you follow her blog, you can have access to this Jesse Tree devotional.  I'm not sure if that is still the case, but she has it in book form here and you can still get free printable Jesse Tree ornaments from her website.

Seth hanging the ram ornament representing God's faithfulness to Abraham
when he provides a ram for Isaac on Mt. Moriah

Avery checking out the snake and apple ornament representing the fall of man
and God's plan for rescuing us 

If you missed our first few days of traditions, here are the links!

Day One: A Christmas Playlist
Day Two: Elf on the Shelf
Day Three: Christmas Book Countdown
Day Four: Christmas Movies
Day Five: Christmas Shopping


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