Advent is the glorious season for memory and imagination. The kind of vivid imagination that enlivened our childhood. Parents and Grandparents have a wonderful opportunity to re-enter this mysterious and wondrous time again, by helping their young children explore God’s activities throughout history: Creation, Adam and Eve, Moses, King David, and all those biblical stories and events that prepare for the Birth of Jesus.
Telling stories to our kids not only helps them come to know about God, but gives us an opportunity to appreciate the wondrous ways in which God’s presence was made known to others throughout salvation history. Knowing God in this way gives us patience and hope in the present. It opens us up from just the here and the now, and allows us to appreciate the God that is always with us, but we tend to forget in the hectic rush of day to day living.
So, find a cozy nook, get a little book with lots of pictures that tells the stories of the bible. You might even want to read the bible a little to help you really experience each story. Then find some quiet time to tell and explore these stories with your children, grand-children, nieces or nephews. Let your imagination really go. Get into the telling, and make each event come alive once again.
After each story make little ornaments with your child or children depicting the story, and then put them on some kind of a tree. If you did this throughout advent, you could even transfer these decorations to the Christmas tree. When Christmas is over put these little decorations away until next year. In years to come you and the children will cherish the time you spent doing this, and the little decorations will be a lovely reminder of your children growing up, and of God’s wondrous ways and blessings.
This is called, ‘making a Jesse Tree’.
This Jesse Tree is part of our Advent Liturgical Decorations at St. Mary’s Parish
Here are some web links to help you with this little project and give you more information on the ‘Jesse Tree’: