Saturday, November 28, 2015

Advent: Preparing for His coming

What do you do to get ready for Christmas? Decorate. Shop for presents. Prepare the menu. Invite guests. But what about preparing our hearts for our Savior's coming? I have come to love advent as the traditions and meaningfulness grows each year. I wanted to share what we do with you and would love to have you post a link to a blog in the comments of how you celebrate advent.

Jesse Tree

We started using the "Jesse Tree" when my oldest son, Tim was 2. We tried a couple different ones but found we really liked the pictures that go with this set and enjoyed the devotional that went with it. It is put out by the Reformed Church in America (RCA). In 2011 I came across a great resource from Thriving Family which is connected with Focus on the Family. They had a family advent activity calendar that year that was amazing. We took many of their ideas and put them with the devotions from the RCA. If you would like to see what Thriving Family is doing this year, click here. 

Jesse tree options are many. Google "Jesse Tree" and you will find lots of ideas. You can make your own tree from a branch and hang the symbols like ornaments. Like here. You could use the symbols and directions from the RCA found here. One year I had each of us color the symbols and we hung them on a paper tree I put on the wall. Last year I made our own Jesse Tree out of fabric, complete with felt ornaments. It still needs the finishing touches, but we are using it as is for now. I used most of the symbols from the RCA set, because they are simple and convey the meaning so clearly. But a few I changed.

Advent always begins on a Sunday, four Sundays before Christmas. Because the beginning date changes each year, the number of days of Advent does as well. This year it begins on Sunday, November 29th. But for a planner like me, I wanted to "be ready" for any year. We double up on the days until we are on the correct date. You can do that, or you can start on day 1 and choose to skip a day or two that you don't like as much. Your options are wide open. :)

If you would like to join us this advent, I would love it. Each day I will post the devotion and activity we are doing along with the Jesse Tree Symbol. Please feel free to use this and share it with others, but give credit to the Reformed Church of America (https://www.rca.org/resources/jesse-tree-family-devotions) and this blog post.

Links to our days of Jesse Tree, Christmas and Epiphany

Day 1    (November 27)   A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse
Day 2    (November 28)   Creation
Day 3     November 29    Sin Separates us from God
Day 4     November 30    Noah's Ark and God's Promises
Day 5     December 1      Abram's Journey
Day 6     December 2      Sarah's Answered Prayer
Day 7     December 3      God Provides a Sacrifice
Day 8     December 4      Jacob's Dream
Day 9     December 5      Joseph Forgives
Day 10   December 6      Rule's to Guide Us
Day 11   December 7      Rahab's Courage
Day 12   December 8      Sadness Becomes Rejoicing
Day 13   December 9      God Calling in the Night
Day 14   December 10    God Sees Our Heart
Day 15   December 11    King David
Day 16   December 12    God's Messengers
Day 17   December 13    Showing God's Power
Day 18   December 14    Running From God
Day 19   December 15    God's Plan for Peace
Day 20   December 16    Little Town of Bethlehem
Day 21   December 17    Special Job
Day 22   December 18    Scary Sleep Over
Day 23   December 19    Waiting and Watching
Day 24   December 20    Sharing What God has Done
Day 25   December 21    Preparing the Way
Day 26   December 22    Mary's Joyful Heart
Day 27   December 23    Joseph's Part of God's Plan
Day 28   December 24    Journey to Bethlehem
Day 29   December 25    Jesus' Gift of God's Love


2 comments:

Kim Valinsky said...

Love the idea and I love seeing the finished project...super cute! The boys and I would like to do this along with you and your boys, however, the links for the days at the bottom of the post don't seem to be working. Am I doing something wrong or looking in the wrong place?

Meg Rambo said...

I will add the links each day as I put a new post up :)