Sunday, December 2, 2007

Kicking Off Advent: Our Christmas and Jesse Trees

Today being the first Sunday of Advent, we had an activity-filled weekend kicking off this wonderful season. My husband went out for a freshly cut fir tree while I took out all the boxes of ornaments from the garage. I had de-cluttered and polished the furniture right before Thanksgiving so that all wooden surfaces would be prepared for decorating.

It is always great fun for the children to look out the living room window and see the minivan pull into the driveway with a tree tied to the top. This year we had the added wonder of our toddler, who took a while to get used to the idea of a tree’s being inside the house. The dog has been through ten years of this, and makes herself quite at home under the tree as soon as it is up.

It is always aggravating trying to get the tree into the stand, and several attempts are usually required before the screws are in at the right angles all around. This time, we had trouble getting the trunk to touch the bottom of the base because there were very low branches in the way. We got out the tree saw and my husband took off several small boughs that were impeding our progress.

Not wanting to waste any of this quality fir, I had my ten-year-old put the loose branches into a large vase. They were enough to form their own little tree, and we put it in a separate room as our very first Jesse Tree.

The Jesse Tree represents the Family Tree of Jesus. Starting with the first Sunday of December, each day has a symbol representing an important event from the Fall to the Incarnation. There is a scripture to meditate on each day in preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas.This year, we have been invited to join some homeschooling friends in an Advent Jesse Tree Ornament Swap. There are a total of 28 symbols, the maximum number of days in Advent. This year there are only 23 days; so only 23 symbols will be used. Ideally, 28 families would pick one symbol and make 28 of one ornament. They get together, also bringing desserts to share, and swap ornaments so that each family goes home with a complete set of ornaments for their Jesse Tree. I thought this was a wonderful idea, which can easily be adapted for use in schools, churches, and other groups. (For instructions on making a Jesse Tree, go to this article in The Catholic Register.)

It snowed this morning, the first of the season, so the children had a wonderful time frolicking outside. The baby quickly tired out, and during her nap my husband and I got the outdoor lights up. We also discovered that we had forgotten to turn the tree to show its “good side”; so all the ornaments were removed and replaced after we were happy with the new placement of the tree.

We finished making our ornaments for the swap, and turned to making Christmas cutout cookies. Meanwhile a beef rump round was roasting for a lovely dinner to celebrate this first Sunday of Advent.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…
For to us a child is born,
To us a Son is given,
And the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:2-6

We are currently reading "Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration", by James C. Dobson, Charles R. Swindoll, James Montgomery Boice, and R.C. Sproul

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I just have to say that it makes me smile to see that half of Bear is in the top picture. So funny. :)