Advent is the season of anticipation; we look forward to celebrating the greatest gift of all time, God’s giving of His on and only Son to humanity, and we look forward to Christ’s return, at which time he will consummate his kingdom, judge the world, and bring his people to their eternal rest and celebration. We hope that these traditions and devotions will aid you in your Advent reflections!
The Advent Wreath
For many centuries Christians have used the Advent Wreath to remember and celebrate the coming of Christ. The word advent simply means “coming” or “arrival”. With the Advent Wreath, we celebrate not only the birth of Christ 2000 years ago, but also our rebirth in Him through faith. And we look forward with anxious anticipation toward his Second Advent for us.
An Advent Wreath is a circular green table piece made branches with four candle holders spaced around it. On each Sunday of Advent, a new candle is lit, in addition to the preceding candles, each with a particular symbolic meaning as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth and His return.
Over the next four weeks, we’ll publish an advent devotional each Saturday to be used on Sunday.
The Jesse Tree
The Jesse Tree is a way to recount the story of salvation from creation to Christ through the days of Advent. The term “Jesse Tree” is taken from Isaiah 11:1-2 “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” Ornaments are made that symbolize major events in the story of salvation. In all there will be about 25 ornaments, one for each day of Advent, and a new one is placed on the tree each day. A Christmas tree, a wall decoration shaped like a tree, or even a potted branch can be used to hold ornaments; each day parents can read a small section of Scripture or retell a Bible story related to the ornaments, while the children take turns placing the an ornament on the tree.
Ann Voskamp has a book about the Jesse tree and some free resources at http://www.aholyexperience.com/category/jesse-tree/