Friday, December 4, 2009

He Prepares the Way

I don't do felt pieces. I've tried. Believe me. After twenty-two years of parenting and over twelve years of home education, I've tried. They never come out the way I'd like them. And I never finish what I start. That's the biggest discouragement of all.

I can afford Christmas gifts for my children but I can't afford to buy beautiful, ornate Jesse Tree symbols which I find online. I always feel as though I should use the money on gifts instead and be able to make the Jesse Tree symbols here at home. The thing is I don't make them. That's discouraging.

I love reading about food while my girls and I cook in the kitchen but I can do only a basic display of my hors d'oeuvers. I am not Martha Stewart. I wouldn't even know the first thing about creating a Jesse Tree through food...though I'm sure someone, somewhere has done it.

And so, each year, the Jesse Tree (which my oldest son cut out of a panel of wood for me and which I covered with green felt) gets set up and where. It becomes a tree for our pets. Honestly, my youngest daughter now believes it is the "dog's Christmas tree." She tapes ornaments on it and wraps little homemade treats for the pets and places these gifts around their tree.

But when Christ decides that your children should learn about His family tree and heritage...He Prepares the Way.

Paper speaks to me. It always has. If it's on paper, I can do it. And it gets done. And I'm satisfied.

The wonderful and generous Katharine, at Evlogia (an Orthodox weblog), is treating us all to a beautiful paper-y Tree of Jesse lesson plans. Just paper and crayons or markers. Perhaps a little glitter if you wish. I can do this. We can make a memorable Tree of Jesse book because that's what I do...make books! We can spend an Advent morning reading the Bible text, breathing in the familiar scent of waxy crayons, and just coloring in vibrant images of cranberry red, pine tree green, starry gold, and jewelry silver. And the final product is neatly tied with a ribbon and treasured for years to come.

Of course, I wonder what to do next year and I would still love to put felt pieces on that little felt tree. I know the excitment that it would bring my children...even the older ones who bicker with the two younger girls in a futile attempt to place the ornament on our Advent tree or open the little window on the Advent calendar (two well-kept traditions in our house)...because they remember these things fondly from their youth. Maybe one day I will have a beautiful Jesse Tree set to use. One day. Possibly when there are grandchildren to enjoy them with.

I do know that when the time comes...He will prepare the way.


  1. I love that your daughter thinks your felt Jesse Tree is the dog's tree. That is priceless. I'm so thankful that you will be able to use the coloring pages. We have enjoyed creating and sharing them.

    Simplicity is a good thing. :)

    A blessed Advent to you, friend.

  2. My normal Jesse tree consists of a roughly drawn tree on poster board and paper 'ornaments' from the which my children color while we listen to the reading.

    It kills two birds with one stone, both having a Jesse tree when I haven't found the time to make ornaments (I'm another one who isn't inclined to such projects) and keeping the children involved so that they actually listen.


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