Friday, December 12, 2008

Celebrating the Advent

Even with the best of intentions, we easily get caught up in the busyness of the Christmas season - decorating the house, gift shopping or making, attending events, baking cookies, reading stories about Santa and reindeer, etc. that we forget the reason for celebrating Christmas in the first place. It is important to our family that we remember and learn about this amazing heritage we have in Christ Jesus. Of course, learning about Christ isn't only reserved for Christmastime, but year round we are witnessing the impact Christ has on our daily lives when we fully submit to Him and His will. We have witnessed the blessings of Christ when we rely on Him fully, the joy that He gives, the security that He provides and the hope we can claim from knowing Him.

We are trying two new ways of celebrating the Advent season at our house. My parents gave the boys a book The Story of Christmas that contains one mini book for each of the 24 days leading up to Christ's birth. They are small and simple to read and come with a gold cord to hang as ornaments.

We also a making our own Jesse Tree which is another way to celebrate the Advent. The Jesse Tree traces the lineage of Christ from Creation. I am using a devotional book The Jesse Tree Journey by Carol D. R. McCray. This year, we made a paper collage Christmas tree and are filling it with decorated paper ornaments for each day. I draw the outline of the picture for the day's story and the boys take turns coloring it and hanging it on the tree. It has been neat to see the connections of Old Testament Bible characters as they lead to Christ in the New Testament. Some day I hope to make a more permanent Jesse Tree to use year after year.

Here are a few of our ornaments: Day 1: Creation; Day 2: Fall of Man; Day 3: Noah's Ark; Day 7: Joseph's Coat

I pray that you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas season and that you would be challenged to celebrate Christ's birth in a meaningful and life changing way.

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