Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Sunday of Advent 2010

My goals for Advent are to do more than nothing, but to keep celebrations simple enough that I stand more of a chance of following through with my plans. Chris can attest that my goals can be bigger than my abilities!

We bought new Advent candles for our brass wreath (see to the right on the mantle), which we plan to light each Sunday night and to say the applicable prayers. Also we bought an Advent calendar with little chocolates (see to the left on the mantle). Some of our friends will be amused to realize that some Catholics do not approve of these chocolate Advent calendars because Advent is a penitential season, which makes Chris and me "liberal" on an issue for once! At least for now . . . . Anyway, we made a bit of a mistake tonight because we started the chocolate calendar, as today was the first day of Advent, forgetting that the calendar really counts down December 1-25, so we started it a few days early.

I decided to try doing a Jesse Tree this year. I think John is just enough older really to be able to follow the Bible stories, even better than he did with our Lenten Cross. I made this decision spontaneously today, so had little time for preparation, and we don't own an actual prefabricated Jesse Tree. Instead, I photocopied the images and Scripture citations from "Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany in the Domestic Church" (Ignatius Press). I then pasted the pages onto Christmas wrapping paper before cutting out the images as ornaments.

Each evening, we will read that today's Bible story, then hang the ornament on the Jesse Tree (which is a faux Christmas tree I had Chris pull down from the attic). Tonight began the story of David, son of Jesse, being chosen by God through the prophet Samuel as the next king of Israel. John truly listened quietly and then leapt with recognition at the final line of the story, realizing that the boy who was chosen--David--is the same boy he knows so well who was small, who herded sheep, who killed Goliath, who played the harp, who became king . . .

We also put out the nativity set today. The kids were having tremendous fun with it right away and I realized that--since we own an unbreakable set and we put it down low for the purpose of the kids using it--our nativity set will not look pretty and "accurate" at any point this Advent season. The Wise Men won't be marching from the East, the shepherds won't stay with their sheep, who knows where the cattle will be at any given time. But that is okay!


  1. Acquiring Jesse Tree ornaments is kind of difficult, I think. They usually come in a kit that you have to make; your idea is a good one. We made a set many years ago out of salt dough and have replaced the broken ones with Sculpey.

    I think it's good to have a nativity the kids can play with. We've always had more than one---even made one out of dolls for a time! You're doing great this year!

  2. We made this Jesse Tree last year with the extension for the 12 Days:

    I didn't use the Christmas tree pattern, though, but made the tree look more like this:
    I think it's more accurate for the "shoot from the stump of Jesse."

    I bought the Jesus tree kit for Lent, but I was too ill with morning sickness for it last year. This year!

    Blessed Advent!!

  3. Ah ha! I found a picture of our Jesse Tree halfway through Advent last year. I think the boys will get even more out of the experience this year!

  4. Your advent sounds lovely! I started a Jesse tree, but M is too young for sure! We also don't have a non-breakable nativity set, so it has to be up out of his reach. I am hoping to find an affordable childproofed set soon. Blessed Advent to all of you!

  5. Courtney: I love your Jesse Tree banner! And it is so neat because you can use it year after year. Do the pieces of felt stick to each other just by nature of being felt? Or did you need to affix little sticky bits of some kind? Your kind of Jesse Tree would be a goal of mine. I just have to remember to start, you know, before the first day of Advent!

  6. Yup, the individual ornaments were glued or sewn but they stick to the banner just by the very nature of felt! It was a lot of work, and I was racing to get it done before Advent (I think I was making the later ornaments during the early part of the season!) so I recommend planning waaay ahead! You know how busy us moms are!