Seeds on the Rocky/Shallow Soil
by Randy Sands
We will be hosting a Jesse Tree ornament exchange on Saturday, August 6th from 5 to 7 p.m. in the family life center. We are hoping for 25 families or couples to sign up for this event. The event will involve a carry-in meal (drinks and tableware provided) and an ornament exchange. It may seem strange to hold an ornament exchange in August, but this is in preparation for the Advent season this coming December.
If we have 25 entries for this event, then each family/couple will bring 25 of the same ornament to exchange. These ornaments can be purchased or homemade.
You will need to bring a cardboard box, basket, or plastic container that is large enough to carry home all 25 ornaments.
Keep in mind that if you already have a complete set of Jesse Tree ornaments or if you do not wish to make this for yourself, it would make a very personal and meaningful gift for a loved one.
The church will be purchasing the devotional books for each family/couple that signs up for this event. The book is called, “The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas.”
On a personal note, I will share that my family has incorporated these devotions into the month of December for the past several years and it is something we all look forward to each year. We enjoy that family time each evening. We have a separate tree (a small, fake tree) that we use just for our Jesse Tree ornaments. We enjoy watching the ornaments appear each evening, talking about the stories of Creation all the way through the Old Testament to the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The best part, though, is that it helps our family focus on Jesus’s birth as we engage in a more meaningful celebration of the Christmas season. It can be used by individuals or families as the devotions are written in two versions (one for children and one for adults) including a scripture, a story and commentary, questions to ask, a prayer, and a song. To be honest, sometimes we skip the song because of time constraints or maintaining the attention of our three young children, though we still feel the impact of the lessons, so it can be tweaked to fit your family.
Please keep in mind that if you sign up for this event (and we hope you do), it will be imperative that you attend and bring your ornaments to exchange so that everyone goes home with a complete set to use this advent season. Also, keep in mind (I know all too well because I’ve put together two sets of ornaments for siblings) that ornaments can be expensive so there is a cost involved in this event. If you purchase 25 ornaments, it could be costly, but save you time. If you choose to make them, it may save money but take a significant amount of time. In the end, though, you leave this event with 25 ornaments (a complete set) for the cost of what you brought. I will be setting the example of what was made for us (by Cindy and Danny Billington) out on the table in the fellowship hall for those interested to view to give them ideas of how to craft these ornaments. You can also easily Google ideas and there are many out there to view. I have also ordered a Jesse tree craft book with ideas that I can share with anyone who wants it. Once you decide what ornament you want to make, please be sure to write your name by that ornament so we can ensure everything is covered. The sign-up sheet will be on the table in the fellowship hall for the next month. Please plan to sign up by Sunday, June 12th so we can ensure we have enough people signed up to hold the event and then everyone will have time (2 months) to create their ornaments. *I’m happy to share ideas about how you could create your ornaments, if needed.*
During the event on August 6th, we will join together for a meal. This will be a great time of fellowship. We will ask each family/couple/person to display their ornaments on their table so people can walk around and look at them. Then, everyone will take turns telling the whole group why they choose that particular ornament/Bible story, how they made them or where they found them, and any sort of anecdotal story that goes along with their personal story of creating or locating the ornaments. Then, as you put the ornaments on your tree one by one during the Advent season your family will remember the church members who created the ornaments and the story that they told. Our hope is that this will not only strengthen our church community, but also give us all an opportunity to focus on the “reason for the season” during Avent each year.
Each devotional is paired with a representative symbol that traces the heritage of Jesus. These symbols come in the form of ornaments that you can hang on your tree. In the end, on Christmas Day, your tree will be filled with reminders of the 25 Bible stories that led up to Christ’s birth.
The symbols or ornaments are as follows:
Please call or text with any questions. We sure hope you will join us! Amanda – 556-6931