The Christmas season is a hurried one.
This year, I want to slow down. I want to take in the Savior.
This year (and every year) I want to celebrate Jesus – His birth and the anticipation of His return.
Do you anticipate when He’ll come again? Some days do you watch for Him? Do you ever wonder what that day will be like when you (if you know Him) are with Him? How amazing that day will be for those who call Him Lord!
What are we passing onto our children? Are we passing on the hustle and bustle of the season – gifts, shopping, Santa Claus (indecently, our family doesn’t celebrate the tradition of Santa Claus – you can read why here)? Or are we passing on something greater…something lasting…something worth celebrating?
This year I intend on teaching my children about God’s promise and His faithfulness by using a service oriented advent calendar and a Jesse tree.
Most advent calendars that I am aware of do nothing more than count down the days to Christmas while enjoying a treat of some sort. I wanted something more. Then I read Ann’s post, What Jesus Wants For Christmas, where her son asks her, “What does Jesus get for His birthday?” Do we offer Him more than a cake on Christmas day? What are we giving Him?
Our advent calendar is a countdown to the birth of Christ by giving to Him what He desires.
“When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:39-41
Here is what we will be doing for Jesus this year:
Day 25: Celebrate Jesus!
We will also be giving our children a gold coin candy and teaching them this verse:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Our Jesse Tree
A Jesse Tree is another advent activity. An ornament is hung from the tree each day. It’s simple, isn’t it? I kind of like it like that. A few sticks gathered by little hands put in a simple vase, yet holding a powerful message. A message of hope, of promise, of faithfulness.
You can downloaded free ornaments to be used with this free advent devotional if you don’t already have something. Don’t worry if you’re a little behind, just have a big day and catch up!
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by Sarah Mae
We also do the Jesse Tree. I love your Advent Calendar idea. Last night I found a store-bought Advent calendar that someone gave us last year, to use this year. It was a simple countdown to Dec. 25 and I thought, “that’s it?” I want to teach my children more than 25 days to Christmas…I, like you, want to teach them the REAL reason for the season!
Southern Gal says
I love the Jesse Tree and Advent Calendars with meanings. Thanks for sharing yours for some fresh ideas.
Incidentally, we don’t do Santa either. My children are now 20, 18 and 7. It’s never been a problem for us, but, man, has it been a BIG problem with others. Most we don’t even know. I’m going to read your story about why you don’t do Santa now.
THANK YOU dear friend!! I’ve been wanting to do this for the first time this year, but didn’t know where to start!!! You have laid it out perfectly for me! I’m going to create it today and get going on it 🙂 I’ll post pics on my blog in the near future and direct people back here to help them, as well. 🙂 ((Hugs))
Wonderful ideas! Thanks you so much! We also do a Jesse Tree (Ann’s devotional to be exact). This year we are working on homemade ornaments to replace the ones we’ve been doing. Each child is making their own so that some day they’ll each have a set of Jesse Tree ornaments to take with them for their own households.
Amy @ Raising Arrows
i love this! we are always looking for good ideas to show our children Christmas is all about our Lord’s birth.
Katheryn Burns-Mukai says
Somehting to consider. Giving up mocha’s may seem noble way to redirect a few dollars, but to feed children in developing countries in the long haul, it makes a lot more sense (cents!) to buy your coffee from companies like Counter Culture Coffee and others who are transparent in their direct trade/fair trade sourcing of coffee beans–families that may only have a few trees, that produce maybe 100# of marketable crop will go further to feeding those children and keep people as productive members of the global economy instead of dependent on handouts. Plus, it might keep someone you know working, and business owner in position to continuing to provide the service and product you enjoy. That is also giving back when you are faithful in your patronage.
I love these fresh ideas! Putting love in action is far better than worrying about wish lists or reading the legend of the candy cane.
Love your ideas! I hadn’t heard of a Jesse Tree until this year, and will have to put it into the works for next year.
Love these ideas 🙂 Thanks!
I love the advent calendar that is more than just a series of treats, but rather a call to action – wonderful idea! Thank you!
Yes, Thank You!! I remember being inspired by your Advent celebrations last year… I’m so excited to set up a Jesse Tree!! 🙂
Great ideas! We did thankful trees in November and each leaf had something we are thankful for in a family member. I wonder if the advent calender idea could be used each month with a different theme… giving, kindness, helpfulness, etc?! Obviously it wouldn’t be called an advent calender, but I love your idea and think it would be a great thing to do all year round!!!!
We are making a Jesse Tree for the first time this year. I loved the idea of so much meaning in the days leading up to Christmas. We have never done an Advent calendar because it did just seem like a countdown without any meaning, but I LOVE your ideas on how to turn it into gifts for Jesus!
Heather @ ChristianMediaZone says
These are all great ideas! Thanks for sharing.
We are doing an advent wreath and Jesse Tree this Christmas. I actually made our ornaments out of Sculpey clay this year for our Jesse Tree. We love these family traditions.
Holley Gerth says
You are endlessly creative, Sarah Mae, and you do it all in a way that brings Jesus closer to our hearts. Thank you!
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