Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Jesse Tree

It's CHRISTMAS!!!!!! If you're not completely aware of my passionate obsession with this season, you probably will be after this paragraph. I. LOVE. IT. The lights, the music, the food, the weather- it all gets me in a tizzy! Ironically, this time of year is the one thing that probably strains our marriage the most. It's not what you'd ordinarily guess. Our holiday schedule with family, in-laws & out-laws alike, goes pretty smoothly. There aren't any crazy fights and we eagerly anticipate spending time with all three sides of our family. That's not the issue. The issue is, plainly speaking, I'm married to a Humbug.

Bear is completely and wholeheartedly against the commercialization of Christmas. I can't emphasize this enough. So much so, that last night he accidentally broke Jonah's ornament with his first picture with Santa and I accused him of doing it intentionally. That's a little extreme. Don't worry- I apologized. I agree with my husband. Christmas has been taken too far regarding consumerism and in a sense, we've lost the true reason for this celebration- JESUS.

When we first had kids, we decided to not do Santa Claus. [Please do not think that we look down on anyone who does Santa Claus with their children. We were both brought up having visits from Santa and we turned out fine. We just feel like we need to take different measures than our parents because we're raising children in a different time and age. If we were in 1984, we may be having completely different issues. Like whether or not Esther Grace would be allowed to see NKOTB or whether Jonah would wear MC Hammer pants.] I've struggled with this decision but I blame it on the kindergarten teacher in me. Santa doesn't come to our house. We've approached this many ways. My kids have gotten their picture made with Santa. They would get their picture made with Mickey Mouse if we were at Disney World, right? Of course, Mickey isn't claiming to take on the attributes of God and replacing Jesus...or so Bear would say. Jonah knows about the man St. Nicholas who helped provide gifts to orphans and how after he died, people continued the tradition. He knows that Santa wears a red coat and has a white beard because that's what Nicholas wore. He knows that Santa gives gifts to the poor and needy and since we are not poor or needy, Santa doesn't come to our house. Instead, we use this season to give to others just like God gave us the gift of Jesus. We point others to Jesus and that's how we show them God's love. Of course, this poses some complications because now Jonah thinks Santa only visits the poor and needy. Therefore if Santa visits your house, you may be promoted on our prayer list in Jonah's eyes. I'm still working out the details. We'll see how it goes because Thursday we have Cookies & Cocoa with Guess Who? at Jonah's preschool. I'll let you know if he gets suspended.

I had never been introduced to Advent until marrying Bear. My church just never did it growing up. I'm not sure why. Bear's family actually introduced me to the concept and I immediately loved it. First of all, it counts down to Christmas. Almost an immediate bonus in my book. Plus, it recalls the true reason for Christmas and refocuses one's heart on Jesus and His coming. Perfect. So this year, we're celebrating Advent but with a twist. A friend of mine introduced me to a Jesse Tree. There are tons of resources on the web with printable ornaments. I printed off a set of devotions that seemed pretty kid-friendly and some ornaments for Jonah to color himself. It basically walks you through the entire Old Testament culminating with Christ's birth on December 25. I'd never heard of it before but I think it's a fabulous idea.

Last night was the first night of Advent, so we read in Isaiah (you knew I'd work that in, right?) about Jesus as the Stump of Jesse. We learned how God always has a plan and sometimes it may seem like forever until it's completed, much like waiting for a stump to grow. But through it all, we must wait on God and His timing, which is perfect no matter what we might think. We talked about why it's so hard to be patient waiting on God's plan, just like it's hard to be patient waiting on Christmas. We prayed thanking God for His plan for us and asked Him to help us be patient while we wait on many things in our lives. (This worked WONDERS for our behavior too, I might add!)

Didn't he do a great job coloring? I did the glitter. We'll see how it goes with the other 29 ornaments!

This may be very familiar to you and your family. I'd never heard of it before. Do you do a Jesse Tree with your family? How do you do yours? If not, what do you do to keep the focus on Jesus throughout this hurried season? Please share with me!


Amy said...

here's a blog that i LOVE LOVE LOVE and i think you would's a link to a post she wrote (with a link included) to "Rethinking Christmas"

and here's one from today on the jesse tree:

just a prepared to be ADDICTED! Her writing is awesome (in my opinion) and i always learn something new! :)

Angela said...

And yet again, you made me laugh when you were talking about being poor and needy if Santa comes to your house. I can't wait to hear about cookies with Santa and have to say that Rick Wages comes to our preschool on Thurs for chapel and while he doesn't try to convince the kids there is not Santa--we would have to close our doors!!! He does try to help the children remember the real reason for Christmas. I will watch you this season with baited breath to see how this goes and how Jonah does. My kids knew Santa was pretend but they also got presents that were from Santa.

Love you and love your blog!!!

Brittany Burtch said...

Too Funny Kris! We're doing the same one...same pictures and all! Love it!

Lone Butterfly said...

I stumbled across your blog - I think from my sister's (BooSheep) and was reading your posts (you are a great writer!). I love this one. I have struggled for 11 years, because Santa doesn't visit our house...cuz he's not REAL! My biggest fear has been that my kids would "ruin" it for someone else's kids.

Knock on wood - we've made it over a decade and haven't messed up anyone else's Christmas, but I was the Mum who had to stay behind in the classroom with my daughter, while the rest of the kids went to chapel to hear Santa talk during preschool!

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