December 2, 2014 Ashleigh

A New Advent Experiment…

So I know you don’t need ONE. MORE. THING. to do this holiday season. Between the decorating and the elves and the christmas lights and the shopping and the baking and the churching and the wrapping and the gingerbread house making, December can feel like something you just SURVIVE. But I wanted to share one idea on how to TRY to MAYBE remind your kids that there was a baby in a manger that started this whole situation.

I ordered Ann Voskamp’s “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift” from Amazon last week and picked up a little Advent Tree from Target over the weekend.

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The great thing about this book is that most of the work is done FOR you, which is my favorite kind of work. Each day has a short story and a free downloadable paper ornament that coincides with the day. So all I had to do was print them off – I did four small sets to put in the Advent Tree (so each kid could hold one during the story) and one large one to print on cardstock for the actual ornament.

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The ornaments are hung every day on a “Jesse Tree” which comes from Isaiah 11:1 where Jesus is referred to as a shoot coming up from the stump of Jesse, the father of David. You can use almost anything for your Jesse Tree, an actual tree, some twigs in a vase, a cut out on butcher paper, really whatever you have on hand.

So after dinner, I explained what the Jesse Tree was and what Advent meant. The kids each took out their mini ornament from the Advent calendar and John read the story from the book. After that we let Jones hang the first ornament on the Jesse tree.

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Nothing super elaborate, but a way to have conversations about the tiny baby and not just the tiny, creepy elves. (I actually kind of love the elf, but that makes me a sick individual and I know that.) And if you want to get super creative you can throw in some little trinkets that go with each days’ story into the Advent calendar. I thought about trying to do that, but it pushed me over the holiday edge and I try to stay AWAY from the holiday edge as much as possible. So here’s to Christmas, the crazy part and those fleeting, sweet, meaningful moments, however rare they may be.

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