Advent, Advent
The Advent season is almost upon us. "Advent" means simply, "important arrival" and of course refers to the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, it means,
A coming; appropriately the coming of our Savior, and in the calendar, it includes four sabbaths before Christmas, beginning of St. Andrew's Day, or on the sabbath next before or after it. It is intended as a season of devotion, with references to the coming of Christ in the flesh, and his second coming to judge the world.
One of the special things about celebrating Advent in particular is that it can help keep the focus on the Christ, and how the world groans awaiting for His return. Interestingly, the season of Advent seems to have more significance in Germany, where a plethora of activities take place and a number of songs specific to Advent are known as well as the most common Christmas carols. Now that Advent calendars are getting more commercialized and can be found containing chocolate and even legos, they are spreading in popularity even here in the United States. There is even one available online...and you can't peek, so visit begin visiting on the third to see what each new day brings.

This year, we are hoping to start a new tradition to bring some more focus on what the coming of Christ means to the world. Last year, we learned about the Jesse Tree, and decided to try it. The name comes from Isaiah 11:1, "a shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots." It is essentially a walk through the Old Testament to prepare the heart for the coming of Christ and give focus to the season.

In 1599, the words to a beautiful folksong, Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, were first published in Cologne, Germany which began with a paraphrase of the beginning of Isaiah 11. The English version is also good, and the site provides the melody. We will be learning this song this season, and we may learn the first verse in German as well.

The ornaments we will be making for our Jesse Tree follow a simple pattern. I will document the process and share it Sunday, but all you need are photocopies of the images you want to use, Sculpey modeling clay and some string to hang up the finished ornament. Images may be found here, under Jesse tree ornaments online (I'll include another link if I find ones I like better).

Print off the symbols then photocopy them (black and white).
Cut out the images (around the boxes would be best).
Knead a piece of Sculpey clay until it is soft and maleable.
Roll it out on a flat surface until it is big enough to hold the entire design.
Make sure the surface of the clay is flat.
Place the image face down on the clay and rub gently to make sure all parts of the design are in contact with the clay.
Poke a small hole in the top to hang the ornament from.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 275 degrees F.
Remove the paper after it cools and the image should be transferred.
Thread it and it should be ready to hang!

Are you planning anything special for Advent?

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