this advent season

Jesse Tree1I heart Advent.
A whole season devoted to a longing for Christ’s birth.
It’s my favorite time of year.
The entirety of Fall ranks as a close second, but Advent is still clearly the winner.
{because there is clearly a competition between the seasons going on in my head}
I loved Advent long before I had kids, but having 3 small people to partake in this season with My Soldier and me makes us giddy.
{if you know my soldier you know just how funny it is to picture both of us at the same level of giddyness}

In our home, I’m fairly minimalist with our Christmas decorations.
Somewhere along the way we struck a balance between intentionality of the spiritual significance of Christmas and our laziness when it comes to moving useless junk around the country.
Less junk, more Jesus.
{how awfully minimalist of us}
I’d like to claim that I’m a minimalist in Christmas traditions as well, but let’s be honest, less is more is also the battle cry of most lazy people who value efficiency.
As such, the only real traditions we have are our Jesse Tree and our advent wreath.

Ornament Hanging

apologies for the crap iphone pic

Oh the Jesse Tree.

Nightly Bible readings tracking the family line of Christ from creation through his birth matched with an ornament that the kids can hang…who wouldn’t LOVE that?!?
Crazy people, that’s who.
{and Hallmark, they probably aren’t fans of a sad looking dead tree covered in makeshift ornaments}

Our Jesse Tree is made from 2 branches from a manzanita tree.
The ornaments have been collected over a span of 3 years. Some have been added to or subtracted from to make them more true to the symbols.
We run our Jesse Tree from the first Sunday of Advent which is 4 Sundays before Christmas.
That means that some years our Jesse Tree starts in the end of November instead of the 1st day of December.

Because our kids are all 6 and under we pull our stories from The Jesus Storybook Bible supplemented by another children’s Bible.
The Jesus Storybook Bible doesn’t have stories for all of the people in Christ’s genealogy
{sorry rahab!} hence the  need to supplement.

Jesse Tree Reading

another sub-par iphone pic

As purposeful as we intend to be there is still a measure of sacred chaos.
As you can see, The Peanut doesn’t quite grasp story time regardless of the spiritual significance.
As with most things involving structure or containment, The Peanut couldn’t care less.

In addition to our nightly {ok, almost nightly} Jesse Tree readings, every Sunday we light a candle on our Way of Light Advent Wreath.
We light the candle and move the very pregnant Mary along the path towards the center marking Christ’s birth.Advent Wreath

It warms my heart.
Those are the only two Christmas traditions we have.
Moving around so much brings a yearly element of the unknown when making holiday plans.
Sometimes we visit family, sometimes they visit us, and sometimes we’re alone, nothing is set in stone and we like it that way.
This is actually our second year in a row without a Christmas tree and I’m not sure any of us are even missing it.
{we do love christmas trees, but being practical penny-pinchers won out over a tree this year}
Maybe our low expectations for Advent have unintentionally resulted in expectations being properly set where they need to be?
I’m probably attributing too many benefits to our mediocre parenting, but for now I’m going to run with it.

I hope this Advent season has been a blessing to you all!