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Posts Tagged ‘Celebrating Christmas’

“Dead branches, Mom?” my joyful son asked. “Really?”

Then the 3 youngest sons tossed around a dialogue orchestrated to love me in a tormenting kind of way that boys do so gracefully.

Yes, dead branches. But these dead branches have infused a new life, a new spirit into our Christmas.  Hanging from each branch is the History of God’s plan.

Creation,  Adam and Eve, the Fall of Man, Noah.

I almost allowed my imperfect desire to do things perfectly to cause me to miss something wonderful.

Abraham,  Isaac, Jacob, Joseph

Early last week, I stumbled across Elizabeth at Just Following Jesus and her post entitled, “A Jesse Branch . . . an Advent Idea.” I’d never had a Jesse Tree before or used an Advent Calendar – lots of reasons. By the time the semester ended and my students essays were graded and recorded – well, we were already into December. Advent had started before I was ready. Having a huge age difference between 5 sons seemingly limited the art projects to just the little ones – nullifying the family-ness of the project. Then, one day, my boys had outgrown Jesse Tree activities – and I thought in my imperfection, I missed it.

Moses, Samuel, Jesse, David

Elizabeth’s Jesse Branch encouraged me to act in my imperfection – and, by the end of last week, I had a Jesse Branch, an unconventional Jesse Branch.

Solomon, Joseph, Mary, John the Baptist

We can’t manage one a day since we started late – and instead of being behind – we have been blessed in the catching up.

Jesus is Wisdom, Jesus is Lord

The first night, the now 5 of us shared the reading of the first 4, hanging the tags and coordinating scripture on a branch. The next day was frazzling and the day after something special happened.

Jesus is the Flower of Jesse

The oldest son stopped by, and I pulled 4 out – one for each of the boys to read. And each shared a story of  Jesus’ family tree, a bit of Christmas written into the afternoon.

Jesus is the Key of David

A few hours later, my husband arrived home with our soldier son, having spent 12 hours traveling to pick him up and bring him home for “Christmas Exodus.” Before this broken and rebuilt son left the house to see his sweetheart, I pulled father and son over to the Jesse Branch, handing each a tag and scripture. Before this son left, he added to the story of Christmas, then hung the tags and scripture on those dead branches.

Jesus is the Radiant Dawn

Allowing God’s story to find a way despite my imperfections, despite not doing it “by the book.”

Jesus is King of the Gentiles

My imperfections allowed all my children, big and small, to breath, speak, and hear Scriptures written on tags telling a story. More than ornaments on a tree. The Living Word – hung on dead branches.

Jesus is Emmanuel

While the ornaments on my Christmas Tree are limited to my family story – these tags on these dead branches tell the most important family story of this Christmas Season – the family story I was adopted into.

Jesus is Light of the World

The tags and scriptures on these dead branches tell of God’s plan to save me, to save my husband, to save each of my sons, to save baby girl due New Years Eve – these tags and scriptures are the plot out-line and promises of that plan lived out.

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8)

I was willing to try despite my imperfection. In the trying I found blessing – and that blessing spilled over to my sons.

“In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life” (2 Corinthians: 14-15).

Live Christmas out of the box!

Thank you, Elizabeth!

Jesse Branch Scriptures:

1) Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4

2) Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24

3) Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24

4) Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22

5)  Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3

6) Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14

7) Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15

8) Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15

9) Moses: Ex. 2:1-10

10) Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18

11) Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13

12) David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51

13) Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28

14) Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25

15) Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38

16) John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8

17) Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1

18) Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1

19) Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3

20) Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22

21) Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7

22) Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20

23) Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22

24) Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14

 

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