Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Welcoming the Christ Child: Family Readings for the Nativity Lent

The weeks leading up to Christmas, what we call the Nativity Fast, are full of some of our favorite Advent traditions, most especially our Jesse Tree. My kids and I invested a lot of time putting together our Jesse tree set - using resources from an old yahoo listserv - which means its really hard for other families to join in on this tradition.

So I am really excited to see Elissa Bjeletich's new book and ornament set. Its a beautifully bound and illustrated, ready-to-go, 40 day Jesse Tree set. Its one of those books that's just lovely to hold. Since we already have a couple sets of ornaments, I only ordered the book. But Jelena Jeftic's illustrations are absolutely gorgeous [look at that coat of many colors!]. And the ornaments are printed on durable plastic - so I hope another set is in our future.

 The lovely coat of many colors

Each story is brief and easy to read, with the scripture reference and a few questions at the end. I love that it focuses on telling the story, and then gives you the space to respond to it anew. The discussion notes show how the stories point to Christ, and succinctly draw you back to the gospel message:

Christ will deliver us from death. 

God loves everyone. 

God joins us in difficult places.

Esau's bowl of stew

Really its more flexible than just a Jesse Tree set. The 40 readings aren't numbered and there aren't any instructions, so you can use it how you see fit - one reading a day for the 40 day fast, a couple of chapters a night throughout December, or stretched into a homeschool unit over the 36 week year.

So, I'm totally thrilled with it, and I can't wait for November 15!

King David, the psalmist

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