Sunday, November 27, 2011

Seeing Green Hope this Advent Season!

Today is the first  Sunday of Advent!  For years during this time of the year, our family has celebrated Advent  in some way. 

When the girls were little we used an Advent Calendar made out of strips of brown paper bag, very similar to what we had used in my home as a child.  The strips were filled with numbers from 1-25.  Each day we cut off another number to remind us of the number of days till Christmas.

Then as they got a little older we started using the Jesse Tree.  The name comes from Isaiah 11: 1, "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit." (NASB)   The Jesse tree represents the family tree, or the genealogy of Jesus.  It tells the story of God's salvation plan, beginning with creation continuing through the Old Testament, to the coming of the Messiah.

Our Jesse trees usually consisted of a small bare branch that we stood up in a Styrofoam  base. The girls would make ornaments out of felt or construction paper  that represented the various  prophecies foretelling Christ's coming or the ancestors in the line of Christ.  It is an excellent way to teach our children as they anticipate Christmas Day.  (You can find more about this online.)

Often we had an Advent Candle in the center of the table, each Sunday lighting the next candle as scriptures were read from the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Or  we would follow a Advent guide or devotional readings written for the season.  A couple of years ago, our church put out an ACTIVITY Advent guide where each day we were encouraged to do something significant, such as;
 listen to a favorite Christmas song and think about why you like it
Have some friends over for a potluck dinner
Think about someone you are having a hard time with and pray for them though-out the day…
You know...things that remind us of the real reason for Christmas.

But you know, my purpose in writing is not to present all the different means by which people observe Advent. 

I'm here to observe Advent!  I woke this morning with the realization that I want to BEHOLD this One who came the first Christmas.   I want to RECOGNIZE Him when He shows up in my world today.  I want to SHOW Him to others and help them SEE Him!

Remember when the shepherds heard the news of the baby, they said to each other "Come,...Let's go see…"

I'm saying that to you today.  Come!  Let's SEE this One we celebrate!  The ONE who gives the gifts of hope, and life,  and joy and purpose and victory.  Let's SEE Him!

Here's to you- and me- SEEing GREEN this Advent Season!

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