Monday, November 28, 2011

Changing Their Minds

Let's face it...Christmas is the highlight of every child's year. More often than not, Santa and gifts is what is on the forefront of their minds.  Of course we have super fun, snap lots of pictures and watch them enjoy their "things".  Then comes the "crash". Christmas is OVER...WAAAHHHH! No more gifts and literally within days those toys were not fun anymore and the full fledged whining begins. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. So last year I decided that the month of December we were going to place truth in their heads every night before they went to sleep and trump those sugar plum fairies.

A friend a couple years ago introduced me to the Advent Jesse Tree and we did it for the first time last year. My kids as young as they are, remember it from last year and have already asked when we were going to start. It is a family devotional that you do with your family every night in the month of December. Every night you explore a bible story that leads up to Christ's birth starting with creation. Some people strictly tell the history from Jesus' lineage and others like ourselves, tell important stories that paved the way for Christ to come. Afterwards they open an ornament that signifies the story and they put it on the tree.

First you start with finding some branches and putting them in a vase. Even a little Christmas tree will work. We opted not to do anything that looked commercialized, so we stuck with the branches. Then you find an ornament that signifies each bible reading. Some people make it an art project with their children and they make their ornaments. I wanted mine to be something to passed on to my children so I made it nice and bought my ornaments. We found their Children's bible and primarily kept with readings that were in there so it kept them interested with pictures. As the years go on and they get more mature, I will change out ornaments and stories to keep it interesting and more challenging.

Here are a few guides that you can go by...everyone does it a little different.
Idea 1
Idea 2
Idea 3

Now, we still have fun with Santa and let them have fun with their imagination, but we let the real purpose of Christmas outshine the fake. Last December the subject around the house was, "When are we doing the Jesse tree?" Not, "How many days until Christmas?" I want to raise my children with an awareness that the Joy of Christmas is not in gifts but in our Savior. Ultimately, I pray that with their little minds surrounded with biblical truth every day, that their hearts would be bent more to eternal things at Christmas.

If you would like for me to e-mail you what readings we did this year, e-mail me at

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