An Artful Advent
Advent is a season observed in many Christian traditions as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity at Christmas. The term essentially means “coming’, and is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus.
What emotion encapsulates the Christmas season for you? For me it would have to be anticipation. Every year in December we prepare for Christmas by (attempting) to get our house in order. We place a wreath on our front door, we put up the tree, add a few lights and some decorations. But this year our Christmas preparations may be a little more challenging as we are in the midst of renovations. At present we have no kitchen, dining room or laundry and we have effectively moved these operations into our garage! Our house is Camp Chaos headquarters at the moment, and relatives from the UK arrive on Tuesday!
In the same way as we decorate our homes to prepare for Christmas, I believe we can also find creative ways to prepare our hearts. Part of this preparation that we can engage in for Advent is in waiting. But many of us find that waiting can be a bit of a struggle. I know that I’m not good at waiting. We are waiting for our renovations to be completed so that we can resume life as usual. Waiting is character building. And at this time of year we can do a lot of waiting. It isn’t even December yet and already the shopping centres are crazy. It can be difficult to carve out time for expectant, hopeful and quiet waiting, especially so in the month of December. And our house is anything but quiet at the moment!
I’m trying to keep Christmas simple this year, as with major renovations going on and family staying, simplicity is about all that I can muster. Whereas in previous years I might have been madly rushing around making christmas crafts, baking (and blogging about it too), this year it is going to be about slowness and simplicity.
A Jesse Tree
We have never had a Jesse tree before, but this year we are going to start a new family tradition. A Jesse Tree is an Advent tree anticipating the coming of Christmas. So instead of the chocolate advent calendars that anticipate the arrival of Peppa Pig, Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank Engine, a Jesse tree gives some clear Christian meaning to the anticipation of Christmas.
The Jesse Tree is named from Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots.” It is a way to tell the Story of God in the Old Testament, and to connect the Advent Season with the faithfulness of God across 4,000 years of history. The Branch is a biblical sign of newness, which became a way to talk about the expected messiah. It is therefore a symbol of Jesus, who is the revelation of the grace and faithfulness of God.
There are many different ways to make a Jesse tree. Some individuals make beautiful fabric or felt trees. I opted for the simplest route which was to cut down a branch from a tree, put it in a vase with a little water, and add a paper decoration to it each day in December. My children helped to make and colour in the printables, which I found on Ann Voskamp’s website. She has some beautiful Advent free printables, which you can find here: http://www.aholyexperience.com.
And I’ve introduced a little series link up here on the blog called ‘Artful Advent’. Artful Advent is about creatively celebrating the arrival of Jesus. Each Monday you are invited to share any form of art related to Advent: writing, music, crafting, photography, drawing, baking…….there are many possibilities. There are several ways you can share with me, too:
- You can email me and I will add your photos or writings to the blog
- You can comment here on this blog post
- You can also post a picture or video on twitter or facebook and tag it #artfuladvent
I believe that we all have a creative bent. What are some ways you use art to celebrate Advent? This is a busy season for all of us, so please feel free to share past writings, art pieces, photos and music that speak to the theme. Make sure to link up with Lattes Laced with Grace. I can’t wait to see your ideas!
Add your art to this week’s Artful Advent collection inspired by the theme of Hope.
ARTFUL ADVENT THEMES:
Week 1, December 2nd: Hope
Week 2, December 9th: Love
Week 3, December 16th: Joy
Week 4, December 23rd: Peace