I have been wanting to begin a Jesse Tree tradition in our homes for several years and this year, we finally got things together in time. When I say that, however, I was very nearly deterred.
I had hope of a majestic branch with beautiful handcrafted decorations but our budget didn't allow for this. I was at a loss, I wanted to begin the tradition but also wanted to bring beauty into the home with it.
After praying about it, I realised - The beauty is in the reading of the scriptures, in being reminded of God's promises, writing in our family's hearts and minds the greatest act of love - God becoming man in the form of a newborn child, so that He may die on the cross and save the world, whom He so loves.
This was the beauty I wanted to bring into our home, not just a pretty tree. It really didn't matter how I made the tree or what it looked like. I desire the meaning of Christmas to penetrate our very souls everyday. Such a wonderful way to add to the advent season!
So, I pulled out an old cardboard box and drew a tree. We painted it with green poster paint. The girls were so excited. Next, I found a pile of colored craft foam. I've been slowly making the symbols for each day. My cutting skills, as someone both left handed and with bad coordination are somewhat lacking. Josh say's my ornaments look cute and childlike, yes - they look like a talented elementary school kid made them, not mommy! hehe
It was so fun to be industrious and use the resources I had lying around to make my hope of beginning our tradition a reality.
Every morning when we have finished breakfast, we pull out the cardboard tree. We pray, we read the relevant scriptures, glue our little foam symbol on the tree, sing a relevant song if we can think of one and then do a little craft or activity together.
What a wonderful 'tradition' it already has become. I love how the girls jump up and down cheering when it's Jesse Tree time. I adore how it sets the tone and focus of the whole day, the conversation it creates.
In the evenings, we have also added a tradition, a modification to our evening Bible study.. We turn off the lights and leave just the Christmas tree lights on. We sit by the tree light, with hot milk, in pajamas and sing Christmas hymns.
We went to the library and found several beautifully illustrated books about the Nativity and the meaning of Christmas that we have in a basket by the tree. We pick one to read together then close with family prayers before bed.
I love the how these traditions are drawing us closer together in love, prayer and unity as a family and how they are teaching us more about God's promises and of Christ.
It is, the most wonderful time of the year!