Basically, it's an advent countdown to Christmas that focuses on the true meaning of the holiday. We also have an Advent Calendar with the little doors you open and I still love that and we still do that, too. (We fill the doors with little treats or a note that says something like, "Tonight we'll bake cookies" or "Let's ride around and look at lights after dinner.")
The Jesse Tree is a little different, and I'm finding that people do it different ways - some look up a story each night (on blogs or just good ol' Google) to read and some have a specific book that they go through. Some people print coloring pages for their kids to go along with the story each night and some just discuss the story. I have decided to do it much like this blogger has - and she explains it much more nicely than I could so click there for the nitty gritty.
The short of it is - I chose a book (Ann Voskamp's advent book for families) and we read a story each night, starting on December 1 and ending on Christmas Day. And eventually, I will have an ornament to coincide with each story and we will either put it on our main tree or maybe - a big maybe - we can have a special "tree" to put them on. I have this vision of a tree made of sticks and vines, but I don't know if we'll ever get that.
|Sort of like this, but not driftwood. (I found this image on Pinterest and can't find exactly where it came from - just etsy.)|
But for now, I'm just focusing on the stories. Lucas and I have felt strongly about cutting back on gifts at Christmas and focusing more on Christ for the past several years, and I think this new tradition will really help pull that together for our family.
Now - getting real - this year? This year we have a 6-year-old and two toddlers. It's not all lovely and calm with all of us sitting in the glowing tree lights, sipping hot chocolate and sweetly discussing the wonder of Jesus's love. It's more like the twins running around, messing with ornaments and presents and riding the dog like a horse, while Xander tries to stay focused - sort of - and I'm paraphrasing like crazy just to get through the story. Not to mention I only have 2 out of the 25 ornaments so far.
But we're starting. It's the thing I'm most excited about this Christmas. And Xander is paying a little more attention every night and tonight he really thought about the story and the questions at the end. And he even remembered the point of last night's story! It's a start.
Each year we'll add a couple more ornaments and maybe by the time my kids start their own family, I'll divide up the ornaments and get them each started on their own Jesse Trees.