Home            About Us            Newsletters            Support Us            Links            Contact Us

Friday, October 21, 2011

Preparing for Christmas

Some of you who read this may groan at the idea of even thinking of planning for Christmas in the middle of October and it's just over the top, especially those who still have Thanksgiving to think of before that!  Where as here in Africa, we start to panic as October approaches.  We panic in case we didn't get that last gift for Nathanael on the last container that left Holland or the USA in September, or we're hastingly buying very "light" items to be sent in the mail and counting the cost of 55 cents an ounce for postal charges.  Spending Christmas in Ghana has made us even more creative.  For us, Christmas preparations almost start at the beginning of the year.  So now we are here, October has arrived and the top of the cupboard is full awaiting it's gift wrap. 

But amidst all the planning there is still one thing that is our focus and that is the celebration of the birth of our saviour.  This year we came across the idea of the Jesse Tree.  For some this might already be a tradition in their household but it was something we had never heard of before. 

The Jesse Tree idea is taken from the scripture reading Isaiah 11:1:

"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots." 

It tells the story of God from the Old Testament to the advent season and the faithfulness of God across 4,000 years of history. The Branch is a biblical sign of newness out of discouragement, which became a way to talk about the expected messiah (for example, Jer 23:5). It is therefore an appropriate symbol of Jesus the Christ, who is the revelation of the grace and faithfulness of God.

We were able to get hold of a book which will take us through that journey through the month of December with daily bible readings and devotions and also gives decoration ideas.  So Nathanael and Sharon are now in the throws of making decorations to go along with it.  There are many ideas that can be accessed online (see some links at the bottom of this post), whether it's templates, readings etc.  Some churches even do an "ornament exchange" where 25 people make 1 of the decorations 25 times and then meet together to swap and get a complete 25 day set.

These are our first ornaments in the making which include the sun to represent creation & light, Adam & Eve - sin, rainbow - Noah and the ark, coloured coat - Joseph, sheaf of wheat - Ruth &Boaz, Ladder - Jacob. 
There are still more being cut out and needing to be stuck together, but we'll share the rest with you when we're finished.

If you're interested in maybe doing a Jesse Tree yourself, here are some links to get you going and please let us know how you get on:

No comments: