Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jesse Tree Wrap Up

Well, the month of awaiting and celebrating Christ's birthday has concluded. What a sweet time it was.
I've enjoyed hearing from you about what things you did to celebrate the Advent season, whether with a Jesse Tree or otherwise. And what a blessing to hear how your children have responded too.

This picture of the Jesse Tree from Worms Cathedral in Germany was sent to me by a friend and reader. Thanks, Ashleigh!

So many of you have such creative ideas and I thought it'd be fun to share those ideas with everyone. So, I've created a Mr. Linky below where you can link up to one or more of your own posts about your Jesse Tree or other Advent celebration. If you've never linked up like this before, all you have to do is go to the post that you created, highlight the url in your address bar for that post and then paste it into the Mr. Linky below. Simple! Please link directly to the relevant post(s), not to the home page of your blog. Thanks for joining in!

Jesse Tree Link-Up

To see all of my Jesse Tree related posts, click here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jesse Tree Update

How is the Jesse Tree going for those of you doing it? We're really enjoying it. I love how much Boo looks forward to it everyday and I love the visible reminders to us of God's love for us in sending his son.

I ended up not finishing a few ornaments and plan to work on them in the New Year. I figured it wasn't worth scrambling to make thrown-together ornaments. So for the devotion on Abraham trusting and following God, we hung up the camel from the kids' Fisher Price nativity.

For the door for the passover devotional, we had originally bought a wooden dollhouse door from Hobby Lobby and were planning on using that. But the Good Doctor and I decided it was kind of funny putting up a fancy wooden paneled door. We thought we could make a more rustic one...but never found the time. So I drew the door symbol on a note card and we tucked that in the tree.

And can you believe I never found a trumpet ornament for the Joshua/Jericho devotional? You'd think trumpet ornaments would be easy enough to find, right? Instead we're using a small wooden flute the kids have.

As for the devotionals themselves, they're going pretty well. We look forward to doing it before bedtime every night, though we've taken to putting the Noodle to bed first most nights. He has a hard time sitting still the whole time and is usually ready to hit the hay by that time anyways. Boo is really drinking it in and enjoys putting the ornaments on and looking at the tree throughout the day.

I'd love to hear how your Jesse Tree is going and how your children are responding.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Jesse Tree All Gussied Up

Here is our Jesse Tree all decorated for our month of Advent.
Last year it looked like this...Big change!

For our tree we use an artificial tree we bought when we first got married. We put all of our family ornaments on a bigger tree in another room. Here is our other tree in case you were curious.

It's a big pre-lit artificial that I got for free on Craig's List two summers ago. Can you believe it was free?! Ignore the nest of red scarving at the top. I haven't finished fiddling with it.

Back to the Jesse Tree. I bought ribbon on deeply discounted clearance after Christmas last year and bought two packs of blue ornaments at the dollar store. That's it for decorations besides the ornaments we'll add each day that correspond with our devotionals.

For the bottom, I grabbed a piece of remnant blue linen fabric I had in my fabric stash and tucked under as a tree skirt. I wrapped up each ornament in a numbered bag.

Jesse Tree: Shepherds Ornament

I'm cutting it down to the wire, but here's another ornament for our Jesse Tree. It corresponds with Day 23's devotional about the angel appearing to the shepherds to proclaim Christ's birth.
I found the sheep at Cost Plus World Market. For the shepherd's hook, I got a small wooden letter "j" from JoAnn's. We cut off the end a bit, drilled a hole in it and I painted it black.

To see all Jesse Tree related posts, look here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Children's Advent Book

Several people have asked me recently about a recommendation for a children's advent book. Honestly, I don't have one that I'd say is the end all be all. For our Jesse tree we use several books together including two children's bibles we have.

There is one book that we love for the kids during Advent but it's not a book of devotionals. Instead, it links Christmas traditions to the season of Advent and gives the meaning behind a lot of the things we typically do this time of year like hanging up stockings, sending Christmas cards, decorating with candy canes, etc. The book is called The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Welchel.

It's filled with colorful illustrations relating to each topic. Some of my favorite topics include the Christian symbols behind the Twelve Days of Christmas, the Legend of the Candy Cane, the history of displaying candles in windows, and the Advent wreath. One that we refer to often during Christmas is the story of the original Santa Claus, Bishop Nicholas from Turkey. After much wrestling with whether to allow Santa into our Christmas celebrations, we decided to stick with the story of the original Saint Nicholas that showed Christ's love to the poor and needy. That's the extent of who Santa is in our house. In keeping with his legacy, we hang stockings on our mantle that "Santa" tucks small gifts in. I still sometimes wonder if we should cut him out altogether but our children are very clear on the reason for this special season and that's the focus in our home the whole month. So for now, Santa stays... just barely.

What about you? Any good Advent book recommendations? Or children's Christmas books in general? Do you "do Santa"?

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