"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit."-Isaiah 11:1
At our church the children are making ornaments each Tuesday afternoon to place on the Jesse Tree the following Sunday during the service. I'm really excited about this opportunity for my children to celebrate the Advent season and be reminded of how the story of Jesus didn't just begin in the New Testament, but that from the beginning, each story whispers his name and tells of the hope we have in Him.
A brief description of this was given in our bulletin: The Jesse Tree, (Jesse being the father of David-the line from which Jesus is born), is a centuries old Advent tradition based on the lineage of Christ. The children participate in the stories of Advent by hanging handmade ornaments on the tree that represent O.T. events from Creation to the Birth of Jesus. Another source says this about the symbolism of the Jesse Tree..."Even though we can have Peace and Joy through the presence of Jesus Christ, we still long for deliverance from the oppression of sin in the world. We long for the full reign of the King, and the Kingdom of Peace that He will bring. So, while we celebrate the birth of the Branch, the new shoot from the stump of Jesse, we still anticipate with hope the Second Advent, and await the completion of the promise.
The Jesse Tree helps us retell this story, and express this hope."
Something our pastor said tonight resonated with me. He was talking about how easy it is to focus on the externals at Christmas...to want everything to be perfect...how over a months preparations culminate in one day (instead of continuing the celebration after Christmas Day as well) and how that day never "fulfills". Each year at Christmas, not unlike Clark W. Griswold, I struggle with this. I want to be sure I'm creating memories of this time of year for my children to take with them as they grow. I also love to give gifts. Thoughtfulness and gift giving are my "love language", so I get really excited about choosing things for people and often I catch myself wanting things to be "perfect". What Tom pointed out so well tonight was the Advent is about longing. The people 2000 + years ago were longing for a Savior, as we long for His return today. My children, nor I, need a perfect Christmas. We do need a season to reflect on and that causes us to remember the joy we have and the hope we have. To show us what the longing is for. That that longing will never be met in gifts or celebrations or traditions, but in Christ alone.