It has always been my tradition that the weekend after Thanksgiving I have started preparing for my favorite time of year! I love Christmas – I always have. I loved it so much I delayed being born SIX days after my due date so I could be a Christmas baby. (I overshot by a day, but I’m okay with that.)
So far I have prepared for Christmas by cleaning the house. :-) I am still unpacking, but I think I’ve unpacked enough to take pictures! Yay! So that will be forthcoming. I am ashamed at how long it’s taken me to unpack – and how it’s still not done.
Yesterday in preparation for the season, I ripped all my Christmas CDs to my computer. In this year’s collection is:
- Mannheim Steamroller: Christmas Extraordinaire
- WOW Christmas: 30 Top Christian Artists and Holiday Songs
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Eve and Other Stories (with my favorite, Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24)
- Point of Grace: A Christmas Story (a long-time favorite)
- Bing Crosby: White Christmas
- Jars of Clay: Christmas Songs (new! this year!)
Any other must-haves of the season that I’ve forgotten?
I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older and gotten married, my mindset has shifted more to “family”, I have found it important for Paul and I to figure out ways to keep Christmas focused on Christ for our (future, hypothetical) children. We don’t want them to fall in the trap of American consumerism and the constant focus on “gifts, gifts, gifts”. If they inherit their mother’s love language of gift-giving, then I could see the Reason for the Season being lost in the festivities. I figure it’s not too soon to make Christmas traditions.
One blog I really enjoy reading, Catherine Wheels, has talked about their “Jesse Tree” before. When she mentioned that she made a website describing in detail about their Jesse Tree, I was definitely curious. From the site:
One of my favorite traditions growing up was having a Jesse Tree each December. Every night in December we would have a family devotion about a different part of God’s plan for His people leading up to the birth of Christ. The concept of the Jesse Tree is based on Isaiah 11:1, and the prophecy that the Savior would come from “the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Over the years, we made or collected different ornaments to represent the events or people we learned about each night. The tree was a great visual and daily reminder of what we’re really celebrating during the Advent season.
I really, really like this idea! It’s similar to the advent wreath, but every day instead of just Sundays, and with more specific symbols instead of lighting candles. It sounds just up my creative, visual alley. :-) So come December 1st, Paul and I will start making it a nightly tradition to read the passage of Scripture and hang an ornament on our Jesse Tree. Yesterday I went out to see how many of the ornaments I could find. I found about 6 or 7, and I’ll probably just make the other ones. In future years, I can keep an eye out for ornaments to replace the handmade ones.
I did a brief Google search and found a few other sites that talk about the Jesse tree, with some variations. Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer also talks about her Jesse Tree here. I think it’s such a cool idea, and so many ways you can make it work for your family. If you’re interested, check out the sites I linked to for more information and ideas, or do your own Google search. :-) I think it’s so important to do things that help keep your mind focused on what really matters, because it’s so easy to just do the whole secular Christmas thing.
I’ll tell you how it goes for us! For now, I should probably go get a shower and start clearing a space for our Jesse Tree! Oh and take some pictures of my apartment for all of y’all. :-)