This year, Mr.Pate and I started the tradition of a Jesse Tree. You can read all about what that is here. Since Christmas is in 2 days, I thought I would let you know how it has gone over.
This is what our tree looked like on November 29th, all ready for us to start our new tradition the next day:
These were our hand-painted ornaments with a picture representing the topic of the day, the scripture reading for the day, and the date on them:
And here is our tree today, almost complete:
(Sorry the picture is so dark) Mr.Pate and I have LOVED this new tradition. Taking time to sit down, read through scripture and a short devotion refocusing our hearts during this season has been such a pleasure. I really think that in the midst of a crazy busy schedule, this habit has calmed up and brought us peace, as only the Lord can.
There were nights that we missed, either because I was out of town, Mr.Pate closed at work or we were just plain too tired to think. But we were able to double and sometimes triple up the next night, and I actually ended up enjoying those "extra dose" nights even more.
I loved looking at our hand-painted ornaments every night too. Usually I am a Christmas ornament snob, but this year the Lord has just filled my heart with a desire to reminisce and make as many memories as possible. Some of the ornaments are really pitiful looking (mostly mine) but some look really good (Mr.Pate drew an amazing wolf and lamb). It is a neat feeling to know we made them with love, and it reminds me of the time we spent together doing it. I am glad we ended up going in this direction.
Basically, I highly recommend everyone do this! Whether you are single and want to do it with a bible study or group of friends, are a married couple, or have kids, I think it is a great tradition to really help you worship Christ and the amazement of his coming! HEre are a few tips or thoughts for those of you thinking of doing it next year:
- Don't stress over the actual tree or ornaments. When I started thinking about doing it, I envisioned cool natural looking ornaments for each day... but that would have taken more time and more stress. Besides, what we did made it personal. Some people use a drawn tree on the wall and paper ornaments. Just do what works best for the time, it is not about looks!
- Choose a time format that will work best for you. We chose every night, but didn't stress if we missed a night. Some people may want to do it once a week and just do seven, or do it twice a week etc. The whole point of the tradition is for you and your family or friends to worship... so don't put other's expectations on yourself.
- Read through the devotional guide (if possible) you are thinking about using before you buy or decide (if you are using one). We have liked some of the things written in ours, and some things are weird. It quotes the strangest version of the bible I have ever read in it too, so thats given us a laugh! Ha! Here is a link to the one we used. And here is a link to a free one that I think looks pretty good too.
- Put the tree somewhere you will see it all day, so you are reminded in the midst of craziness what it's all about.
So what tradition do you celebrate and love?