Advent is a time of waiting in anticipation for the coming of our Savior. We are taught to watch and wait during Advent. But just what are we looking for? And no one seems to be waiting. Christmas music and commercials begin before Halloween and many of us have already made our shopping list and are on the hunt for the best bargains before the calendar flips to December. It is a fun time that is filled with nostalgia and rooted in tradition. It can be exciting and joyful but what if we were able to balance the Christmas spirit with the Holy Spirit? We know the pressure leading up to Christmas can leave people feeling overwhelmed and burdened; even sad and unfulfilled. That is because we need to prepare our hearts and lives for the birth of Jesus while we are planning a big Christmas celebration.
The plan for salvation did not begin with the birth of a tiny baby in the lowliest of places. It began in the Old Testament with the bible stories we all grew up with. The revelations of the Old Testament, the events and people in our bible stories, serve a very clear purpose. It sets the stage for a baby who will save the world. The 21st verse of the New Testament says, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins.”
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The Jesse tree, named after the Father of King David, represents branches that grow from his roots. We present an ornament (a picture of an event or person from the Old Testament) and reflect on the supernatural faith of Jesus’ ancestors leading up to his birth. Each “ornament” is explained in scripture and devotion. It is a wonderful way to spend quiet time as a family so we better understand what a savior, born at Christmas, really means for each of us and why it is the best reason to celebrate.
We have a Jesse Tree at Sacred Heart School and spend time together around the tree every morning as we pray and learn about our faith. I use “The Advent Jesse Tree” by Dean Meador Lambert for daily devotions. It is very good and easy to use.
While you are preparing and while you are waiting, look for miracles around you. The miracles are there if you open your heart to them. Let the Holy Spirit guide your eyes so you can see God’s people this Advent. Take the time to meditate on how huge the true meaning of Christmas really is. You are loved! You are safe! You are protected! Thank you, Jesus!
Anne Atkin, principal