Monday, December 7, 2009

Advent week 2: Love

Light two purple candles.
Sing a hymn or Christmas carol. My choice is Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus; Born to set thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's Strength and Consolation, Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a king.
Born to reign in us forever, Now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit, Rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all sufficient merit, Raise us to thy glorious throne.

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Prayer: Lord, God we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the way. We who like sheep have gone astray have found the way to you through Jesus Christ. Stir our hearts that we may prepare for thy only begotten Son, and that we may be made worthy to serve Thee. We give thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory. -Amen.

Since there were questions about the Jesse tree; what it stands for and how you can incorporate it into your Advent celebration, here is a little explanation I found....

Isaiah 11:1 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

Jesse was King David's father. The image of a branch growing out of the roots of Jesse points to a new King in David's line. Christians know that this is fulfilled in Jesus, the King of Kings, who is a descendant of Jesse. One tradition is to decorate a tree branch with symbols that remind us of other important people from the Old Testament. The symbols of the Jesse tree remind us that our belief grows out of deep roots of thousands of years of ancestors in the faith.

My children are two and three, so I have decided that I am not going to try to do every symbol or ornament this year. We introduce a new symbol every morning, and we review each of the symbols we've done so far every evening. I would rather have them remember a good handful this year that we work on, and we can add to them next year, as they get a little older. It has gone very well so far. This last week we have been working on Noah and the ark, Abraham and Issac, and Jacob's dream. You can also use an Advent house instead of Jesse tree. I know they have them at Target and even Cracker Barrel.

You can place little symbols in each door. Or some people like to place little treats in each door for their children instead of using it as a teaching tool. This is the first year that my children truly understand about Santa Claus, and they are very excited about him. I thought this would be the perfect time to start to also teach them about the real meaning of Christmas, and the excitement of Jesus' birthday. I told them that we are very lucky to receive presents on Jesus' birthday, because really He should be receiving the gifts. They were like, "Wow, that's really nice of Him." So sweet. I'm so excited to be doing this with them this year. It helps me prepare my heart as well. Love and blessings to all!

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