And it’s the second week of Advent . . . already!
Here’s the promised second installment of Advent ideas from myself and Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence.
4. Replace Cookies with Candles
In lieu of baking and delivering Christmas cookies to neighbors, friends, and co-workers during early December, give candles as small gifts instead. Wrap votive candles in small squares of taffeta, tie with a ribbon, then affix notes with the text of Isaiah 9:2 and John 1:9 printed on them. If friends are curious about your unique gift, talk honestly about the light Jesus has brought into your life.
5. Try a New Type of Tree
Instead of putting up your Christmas tree the Friday after Thanksgiving, consider having a Jesse tree instead. The idea of a Jesse tree is derived from Isaiah 11:1-a prophecy about Jesus that says “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” A Jesse tree is traditionally a bare branch or houseplant decorated with ornaments that remind us of stories from the Old Testament and people who went before Jesus.
Don’t think you have to go out and buy new ornaments! I (Joy) made a Jesse tree with some of the ornaments I already had in my collection: apples to represent Adam and original sin; animals and plants to remember God’s creation; a harp to represent David; even a lobster to represent Old Testament dietary laws (you can get really creative here)! You can also make your own ornaments to represent Old Testament stories, such as a rainbow, big fish, altars, and a coat of many colors. And as you wait a bit to put up your traditional tree, you can also intentionally put up your other Christmas decorations a little at a time, while you wait for Christmas morning.
Creatively reflect on the story of Zechariah (found in Luke 1:5-79). What was it like for him to wait in silence as he pondered the amazing news that the Messiah was coming? Set aside one morning in which you can take a vow of silence; for a few hours commit to keep your mouth shut and communicate only with God through quiet prayers and a listening heart. Focus on and enjoy God’s presence.
STAY TUNED NEXT WEEK FOR MORE IDEAS . . .
(copyright 2007 Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence & Kelli B. Trujillo)