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This is not a Christmas Post!

Because the Christmas season does not start until Thanksgiving is over. Thanksgiving is a beloved and wonderful holiday and deserves it’s due. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving rockwell

I don’t want to rush through Thanksgiving and miss all of autumn in a rush to get to Christmas. There will be no Christmas decorations, no Christmas carols, and minimal Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving.  However…

Our family celebrates the Christmas season by observing Advent through Epiphany.  We try to keep our focus Christ-centered (as befits the season) by doing daily devotions. We alternate between a Jesse Tree and an Advent Wreath.  Last year we did the Advent Wreath, so this year we’ll do the Jesse Tree.  Actually, we set out the Advent Wreath and do the Sunday candles, but not the daily devotions. This is because the Jesse Tree ends on Christmas Day, whereas we celebrate through Epiphany.We use Celebrate Jesus at Christmas(af) for Advent. It’s out of print now, but you can still get it used.

Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, so this year it’s December 1.  The Jesse Tree also begins on December 1 every year, because it consists of 25 ornaments and devotions leading up to Christmas.  We use the book The Advent Jesse Tree(af).  This devotion book  has devotions for children and adults, so we can do the devotions as a family and I can do the adult version on my own. It helps keep me focused during a season that can veer off course quickly.  Each day has an ornament suggestion, a memory verse, and a hymn to sing. The Timeless Truths Library is a great place to find lyrics and music for hymns. I like that it’s not 25 Christmas songs, but 25 hymns — including Christmas Carols — that tell the story of Jesus.

The main reason I’m writing about this now is because preparing the 25 ornaments takes time and forethought.  A couple of years ago, I arranged an ornament swap with some friends. The idea is that, instead of making 25 separate ornaments, you make 25 copies of the same ornament and swap. I’ll be honest, organizing a swap of 25 people was . . . challenging. However, you can do the same thing with fewer people. For example, you could do six people making six copies of four ornaments each and you all provide the 25th ornament on your own.  I also ended up making three ornaments (or 75 in all) , so I got two full sets that I was able to give away in addition to my own.

You could even have a craft day where everyone brings their supplies and a snack and makes them together. However, the craft-challenged (like me) might be intimidated by the Martha Stewarts in your group.  Or you could do 25 ornaments on your own. You wouldn’t necessarily have to do them at one sitting, maybe spend a couple of hours each week doing them for the week. Of course, it may be hard to find two hours a week during the holidays.

NOTE: You don’t have to make fancy ornaments in order to do a Jesse Tree. The first year we did it, I just printed out some pictures, glued them onto construction paper and hung them on a tree with yarn. It totally worked. You can use a mini Christmas tree, a branch from the tree in your yard, or even just tape them to the wall if you’re using printables.

There are also tons of devotionals, both free and for purchase, available.

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And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of resources for both Jesse Tree and Advent Wreath. Some may take a little preparation, though, so you probably want to choose before December 1. And if you’re doing ornaments, you might want to start now. Which is why I wrote this post, not to rush Christmas.

Before we get to Christmas, here are some devotions to help you celebrate Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

How does your family stay spiritually focused during the holiday season?

2 responses to “This is not a Christmas Post!”

  1. Alisha @ Crandallation Avatar

    I SO appreciate this. Thank you.

    1. April Avatar

      You’re welcome!

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