Friday, 27 November 2009

The Christmas Countdown has begun....

Time flies and Christmas is now only one month away.  Here, at the McGibbon Zoo the preparations have begun.  Our outside decorations are up and we are planning on decorating the inside of our house this weekend.  Our Christmas lights although hung, will not be turned on until this Sunday as it is the first Sunday of Advent.

Last year, as a family we took some steps towards simplifying Christmas and keeping the importance on Christ.  (If you would like to read some of my thoughts and ideas about what we did last year this is the Advent Link.)  It is so easy to get wrapped in all the business of the season and to never actually celebrate Christ's birth and all the God has done.  This year, in order to help us focus everyday we are in the process of building a Jesse Tree.  Jason made the tree frame and cut the ornaments out of wood.  Our boys helped to sand the ornaments and they drilled the ribbon holes.  Caroline and I have begun to decorate the ornaments and Trinity will have the job of stringing the ribbon through the ornaments so that we can hang them.  It has been a fun process through which we have all been involved.

If you would like to celebrate this tradition you it is really easy to do.  We chose to make ours out of wood but if you don't have time for that this year, there are lots of sites on the internet about making different kinds of trees out of paper or other craft materials.  You can even print one off the internet and place it on your refrigerator.  It really does not have to be elaborate.  The important part I think is spending the time together as a family each day to focus on God's story.  I am really looking forward to this Sunday when we will gather together as a family to read God's Word and begin to trace the journey of God's unfailing love for us.  We will meet together as a family everyday during the Advent season to read God's story and to hang an ornament.

If you have never heard about this tradition the representation of the Jesse Tree is taken from the Bible, in Isaiah 11: 1
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
       from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."

The tree is named after King David’s father, Jesse, with twenty-eight different ornaments that symbolize promises from God or milestones in the faith. Typically one ornament is placed on the tree for each day of Advent, but Advent can range from twenty-one to twenty-eight days depending on the year, so adjustments must be made to how many ornaments are placed on the branches each day. The ornaments are placed on the tree chronologically from creation through the birth of Christ, and they also are placed from the bottom of the tree to the top, so Christ is alone at the top of the tree on Christmas day.  If you would like more information about the story of the Jesse tree and how to build one for your own family follow this link.

I will be posting our bible readings and a photo of our ornament each day throughout the advent season.  If you already have a Jesse Tree I would love to hear about your tradition and if you decide to make one with your kids I would love to see photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment