Showing posts with label Jesse Tree. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesse Tree. Show all posts

Thursday, December 3, 2015

All Is Calm, All Is Bright

Well here we are again y'all, Christmas time. Have you noticed that as we age, Christmas comes faster and faster? My goodness, I can't believe that it's here again. 

I've been thinking a whole lot about last Christmas and the moments that I really enjoyed and the moments that, well, need some tweaking. My favorite from last year, starting the tradition at our house of a Jesse Tree. Remember this post from last year? It totally altered our Christmas season, like completely shifted our whole family's focus. 

What happens? By focusing on the real of this season, a calm and quiet settles over our family. A calm and quiet settles over my spirit, and I know y'all will agree, nothing's sweeter than peace. Am I right?

Starting on December 1st, we read our devotion each night from Ann Voskamp's book and the children place an ornament on our Jesse Tree. It's a quiet time of gathering together as a family and reflecting each day on the Christ in Christmas. Priceless. 

If you've never celebrated with a Jesse Tree or Ann Voskamp's devotional, honey, this is your year. Get your peace  on friend!

*****I'm adding this little edit because in my old age {smile}, I forgot to give you the links to Ann's books that we use. Last year we used this one, and although I loved it for me and my husband, it seemed to be a little wordy for the children, so I knew that I wanted to order this one  for this Christmas and I'm so loving it y'all! *****

Monday, December 1, 2014

Desperately Seeking Advent

Merry Christmas Y'all! It's really December! Can you even believe it??? Last Friday we drove into the mountains of North Carolina and cut down our Christmas tree. It was a gorgeous day, a bit chilly, but with a bright warm sunshine that kept us plenty warm enough. We found a beauty and it's up and filled with lights and ornaments, oh so carefully unwrapped and gently placed on the tree. Such a lifetime of memories in the ornament box each year and so many stories to share with the kids as they place them on the tree. Christmas truly is a wonder-filled season for young and old.

Gratefully, I get a little bit wiser every year. I learn more and more about how to stay on the path that God places before me. I tell my girls that God places a path before each of us and it's when you venture off of that path, that the road gets really bumpy and crazy hard to navigate. So as I age, the edges of my path become more and more defined and easier to see. It becomes less challenging to follow God's lead. Celebrating Advent is following God's lead this Christmas. Celebrating Advent will help me make sure that my family's focus is spot on this Christmas season.

This Christmas we are celebrating advent- we are intentionally inviting God into our Christmas. Advent is defined as: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.  Wow, that really sums up Christmas doesn't it? That's Christmas in a nutshell. This year we'll be inviting God into our hearts and minds by celebrating with a Jesse Tree. It's a simple way to bring some much needed authenticity to your Christmas worship. We'll be using Ann Voskamp's book to navigate through the history behind each day of December. We'll be learning about the story before Jesus' birth. I could kick myself for not teaching this tradition to my children sooner, but I had to be in exactly the place I am now, even one year ago, God still had more work to do on me so that I would be able to give our children an understanding of advent. For God, it's all about perfect timing.

Here are a couple of links to Ann's books on celebrating Christmas with a Jesse Tree, The Greatest Gift, and Unwrapping The Greatest Gift. It's so simple and a fun hand's on learning activity for the kids. Ann gives you free downloadable ornaments and you can choose however you'd like to display them. I've chosen to fill a pitcher with lots of dogwood branches and we'll place a new ornament on the tree each evening as we read that day's story. We're going to use a bit of baker's twine to attach the ornaments to the branches. See- simple. I would love if you'd join us in celebrating your Christmas season with Advent.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Celebrating Christmas With A Jesse Tree

Every year I try to simplify Christmas. I crave a peaceful and tranquil Christmas. I really want to wake up on Christmas morning not feeling exhausted from the process that is Christmas. I don't want to be doing a mad dash to the grocery store on Christmas Eve because I forgot some ingredient for Christmas Day lunch. I don't want to be angry and irritated during the Christmas Eve service at church because I'm thinking of a gazillion things that I still haven't done. Anybody with me??? 

This year I really wanted to draw all of our focus in to the history behind this Christmas season. I want us all to deeply understand Christmas and it's how's and why's. The more we understand God's purpose in giving us His one and only Son, the more Christmas can be less about us and more about God. I need less about us and all the junk that becomes Christmas, don't you?

We've always used an advent calendar to celebrate but the Jesse Tree allows for an understanding of Christmas through a lesson and then adding an ornament to your tree each day of December. The Jesse Tree gives us the opportunity to celebrate Jesus' birthday with an understanding of the why's. I purchased Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift to help me to fully understand how to use a Jesse Tree. 

There are lots of other books out there for all ages, but her book in particular really spoke to me. It is family friendly so it's good for all the ages we have here in our house and she gives you access to files so you can print the ornaments that will go along with each night's devotional and lesson. You will begin on December 1st and conclude on Christmas Day. You can go all out and buy a ready-made Jesse Tree and ornaments or make a simple one like we will be using. I've put some branches in a pitcher and attached some little book page stars to some of the branches. Each evening, as we read a lesson, we'll place it's corresponding ornament onto our little tree.

Ann even has a YouTube video that explains the Jesse Tree in detail. 
Celebrating with the Jesse Tree is just one more way that our family will be reminding ourselves, in the midst of a very commercialized holiday season, that GOD should be our focus this Christmas. Repeat with me, God should be our only focus. I've got to get rid of all the stress that I put on myself unnecessarily, and FOCUS only on the reason for Christmas- Christ.

I'd be oh so happy if you would join our family this Christmas and celebrate using a Jesse Tree! I'd love to hear how you are celebrating this Christmas! Until next time........AE

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