I love the Christmas season, it’s my favorite time of year. I love the music, the decorations, the festivities, the food, the continuing on of family traditions, and the starting of new ones. But, it’s so easy for the true meaning of Christmas to get lost in all the hustle and bustle of this busy season. This is the time to anticipate and celebrate the arrival of our Rescuer; the coming of our King! What a glorious day that first Christmas was some 2,000 years ago, when Heaven came down to earth in the form of a tiny baby, our Savior had come to live…and to die for us all! There is no greater reason to celebrate Christmas than this!
Through the years we have started some of our own family traditions to help our kids better understand the true meaning of Christmas. We do a daily random act of kindness during the month of December to count down the days until Christmas. We hope to teach our kids the importance of giving and learning selflessness, that Christmas is not about what they get, but about showing the love of Christ and finding ways to be a blessing to others. We read the Christmas story every Christmas morning before we open gifts. We bake a cake together on Christmas day for Jesus’ birthday; complete with candles and singing. This year, we are adding a new tradition, we will be celebrating Advent (The coming of Christ). The scripture reading plan for Advent tells the story of God’s plan for salvation, starting with creation and continuing through the Old Testament to the birth of Jesus Christ.
I have several friends that do this already with their families and I have always been intrigued by it. As I have read and learned more about it myself, I think it is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts for Christmas. In the midst of all the business of this season, it is a great way to have a quiet, reflective time each evening with our kids. Along with our reading, each night we will be making an ornament for our Jesse Tree. The name Jesse Tree represents the genealogy of Jesus. Jesse is the father of David, an ancestor of Jesus. It comes from the prophecy of the coming Messiah.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
We will be doing our reading using the Jesus Storybook Bible (which we love and highly recommend!) If you have the Jesus Storybook Bible already, here is the link to a great blog where a sweet momma has made up a free printable of the reading plan that goes along with it. I also pinned the idea for the Jesse Tree ornaments from another sweet mommas blog, you can click here to check out the free printables she has to offer.
Our first night went well, we enjoyed our reading time and we gave the 3 older kids each a different responsibility in making the Jesse Tree ornament. One got to color it, one got to put it together, and one got to hang it on the tree. Each night they will rotate these responsibilities.
If you are looking for a quiet, reflective way to prepare your hearts and the hearts of your children for Christmas, I hope these ideas are helpful.