Advent started a couple days ago, on Sunday, and continues on for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. For our family, Advent is a time when we prepare our hearts and home for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. This year we have set up our Jesse tree, Advent wreath and nativity scene to help guide us through this Advent season.
The Jesse tree is a biblical Advent calendar that shares Bible stories that lead up to Jesus’ birth. I sewed our Jesse Tree out of felt almost five years ago and it was quite a lot of work to complete. Truthfully, I don’t know how I would find the time to make a similar one these days. Luckily, there are many simple printable Jesse tree options available on the internet for those that neither have the time nor the inclination to spend hours making a felt Jesse Tree. This year we are using The Advent Jesse Tree as our guide for the Bible readings along with the In the Beginning Bible Series, an Old Testament Bible anime series created by Osamu Tezuka. Unfortunately the series cannot be purchased, but somebody has uploaded them here.
The Advent wreath, with its evergreen branches and four candles, three purple and one pink, is a constant reminder that Christmas is drawing near. It sits on our dining table, constantly shedding needles, also a good reminder that Christmas is getting closer. We light the candles, one for each week of Advent that has passed, while we do our evening prayers.
We have one big nativity scene that I set up at the beginning of Advent. I start by putting out Joseph and Mary and slowly add more characters as Advent goes on, eventually adding baby Jesus on Christmas day. My children find it silly that baby Jesus is missing and I find all kids little people put in the manger until the rightful owner takes his place.
Last year we started a new tradition of having an Advent book basket. I really like books and over the years I have collected a large bin full of Christmas books. Last year I wrapped one book for each day of Advent. This year I opted to save time and paper and I put the books, unwrapped, on the bookshelf instead. We will still read once (or maybe several) of these books everyday but I like that we can pick books based on how we are feeling at the time and that we are being gentler on the environment.