There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
The advent season has begun! Christmas music started playing in our home yesterday, we had our first advent devotional last night (sans the advent wreath, which has yet to be put together). And hopefully, I'll manage get to some Christmas decorations in my unpacking and sorting today.
At lunch, the kids and I started our Jesse Tree. This is the second year for us to use this particular focusing tool. Last year, we made a big tree out of corrugated plastic and made our own ornaments. Sounds neat, doesn't it? Except that we only got through about 16 of the 25+ lessons we intended to do!
This year, still being deeply in the work of moving, I am committed to finding simple ways to celebrate Advent/Christmas. I will settle for something that is not so fancy/perfect as I might like - because the point is to focus on our Lord's coming, not to have a perfect method for doing so!
So, in contemplating what to do for our Jesse Tree this year (I don't want to use the huge tree we used last year), the focus was on what will be simple/quick and help us train our thoughts and minds properly. After deliberating for while, I've decided that we won't even have an actual tree to put our Jesse Tree ornaments this year. We're going to use one of our glass back doors, and simply form a tree as we tape the ornaments to the glass.
And the ornaments? Instead of making our own, I printed out the ornaments from Faith Magazine that I found in my googling. I printed them in color, two pages on each sheet of cardstock because I wanted them to be smaller. I started to cut them all out, but realized that it was not truly needed for them all to be cut out today, so I rough cut the others enough that I could number them. I'll cut them out as we go, or sometime when I need to sit down and rest for a while.
Guess what? I don't think the forbidden fruit was an apple! I'm partial to Answers in Genesis' illustration of it that looks more like a luscious purple hand-grenade - so apt. And I don't think the ark was a round little thing that would never float. But the details of the symbols aren't as important to me this year as they used to be.
The process of figuring out what our Jesse Tree plan is this year has been another reminder of the truth that these traditions are tools. They are not our masters, they simply have the potential to aid us as we focus on the true reason for the Christmas season. May you be blessed as you focus on Jesus, Creator of the Universe, born to die that we might live!