I’m a little hesitant to put up a tree this year. With eight of us crammed into my mom’s house, and the living area already arranged to be child and baby friendly, there’s not a lot of room for a tree. Especially when taking a soon-to-be-crawling baby into account.
So I’m thinking that we should do a Jesse tree this year. That would go nicely with our Advent wreath – which I’m hoping to make out of a palm frond.
A Jesse tree is a tree (duh) on which is hung ornaments, one for each day in Advent. And each ornament is a symbol from a story of people who waited for the first Advent – that is, Old Testament stories. As the tree fills with ornaments, the closer Christmas comes!
You can read about the symbolic ornaments and stories here.
I’m thinking that this will meet my Christmas expectations – beauty, meaning, heritage, family togetherness. And all without an imported pine! Or with an imported pine, if we so choose (I like to keep myself open to future possibilities). This year we’ll probably get a branch from my mom’s backyard/jungle.
I’d like to start collecting and making the family ornaments, and add to our collection year by year with items that come from our family history. Today I picked up a dry piece of green seaweed stuff that will be perfect for the burning bush ornament. And I found some shells that we will turn into Nativity angels. We’ll make Jacob’s ladder out of twigs. I’m remembering that at home I have a glass pendant my cousin Heather made – it will be perfect for the water symbolizing baptism.
So today we were over at my Grandma’s house (she’s across the street), and I thought we had the perfect moment for doing our Jesse tree thing. (Evenings are not a good time around here for focused family time).
I had the ornaments cut out, the crayons at the ready, the father present, the Bible out, the children at the table…and Amelie started a non-verbal whine that turned into a five minute crying fit. Levi became a Wild Thing, yelling and squirming and making a general ruckus. Lia sat calmly at the table and colored (very unusual, she doesn’t really like coloring).
Let the wild rumpus begin!
By the time Amelie decided to quit crying, Lia was done coloring. Levi was still yelling.
Mommy gave up. I know when I’m beat.
Devo stepped in and got everyone settled back down (other than Levi, whom I took to the other side of the room and distracted) and we got our first story read, first ornament colored : The Creation and the world, respectively.
Not exactly the bonding family tradition I had envisioned. But it will do.