Sunday, 1 December 2013

A Birch Wood Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and December 1, which makes it a full 24 days till Christmas.  I am so excited for Advent this year as we are trying to establish family traditions surrounding it; for counting down and contemplating.  Last year was the first year I really made point to not only count down the days with the kids with their Candy Calendar, but read daily devotions and focused on the meaning of the season. 

This year for my 30th birthday my husband gave me a book by Ann Voskamp called "The Greatest Gift".  This was 2 weeks ago, and I had never heard of Ann Voskamp.  Wow, where had I been?  Rural Canadian mom of 6 turns New York Times best seller.  I'm impressed.  Read some of her blog, A Holy Experience, and I'm inspired. 

However, beyond the author is the story of the Jesse Tree, which I had never heard of.  It is another way to mark the days of Advent and see how the entire Bible has been leading to the coming of Christ.  It is made up of daily readings and ornaments and I am excited to begin this journey and share it with my family.  Ann had offered free printable ornaments on her website with a code found in the book (sorry, can't share).  But I thought, if this is something I am going to do every year (because it seemed that cool to me) then I want an ornament I can keep. 

I've been really in to birch wood lately, and I had some from a tree we cut down.  I asked my husband (and he so sweetly obliged), to cut a log in to 25 disks.  I then printed the 2x2" symbols on card stock, and Modge Podged them to the wood.  I also wrote the corresponding Bible verse with each one as an added reminder of the association behind the symbol.  I used red ribbon to make a hanger as the Word is connected by a Scarlet cord. 

Today I read the first devotional with my family, it is so beautifully written. My son in Grade 1 had heard about the Jesse Tree in school (love Christian school!) and he hung the first ornament on the bottom and we will work our way up to Christ. 

Here I have all 25 displayed temporarily.  I decided to use my actual Christmas tree as our Jesse Tree as I think the ornaments are beautiful, meaningful and will fill up the tree nicely.  I'll come back and post a finished picture at the end of the month. 

Continuing with my affinity for birch wood, my husband broke out the tools again by drilling holes into this log to make an advent candle holder.  I hadn't found anything I liked online or in stores, and this was simple enough yet visually impactful to me. 

And finally, nothing to do with Advent, but I used some more birch logs, and some thrift store finds, to make this display for my front step. 

This Advent I am going to try to focus on Peace and Thankfulness and not get caught up in the busy or buying.  I love Ann Voskamp's line, "put space in the pace of the season and find peace."  Remembering to be thankful for what we already have and for what is sure to come; to have high expectations for the coming of Jesus over what comes in wrapping and bows. 

With a Barrel and a Heap of Waiting,


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