Reading: My friends, be patient until the Lord returns. Think of farmers who wait patiently for the spring and summer rains to make their valuable crops grow. Be patient like those farmers and don’t give up. The Lord will soon be here. Don’t grumble about each other or you will be judged and the judge is right outside the door. My friends, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They were patient, even when they had to suffer. James 5:7-10
Reflection/prayer: We come together in Advent as a people to remember what God has done for us and look forward to His coming again. We look backwards, remembering the birth of Jesus Christ, remembering what God has done for us, remembering special family times and celebrations of Christmases gone by. We look forward to continued blessings from God, to building more family memories, and to the time when Christ will come again. In gratitude for all of our memories and hopes, we give praise to God. Amen
Activity for today: Make a Jesse tree. The Jesse Tree is a celebration of Jesus’ family tree and the stories from the Bible that make up his ancestral history and heritage. Symbols included can be things like the earth to represent creation, two tablets to symbolize Moses, a ladder to represent Jacob, and so on. It can be a lovely way of reminding us about what Christmas is really all about as well as for educating ourselves and our children more about these stories. The Jesse tree gets its name from Jesse, David’s father. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-2) A Jesse Tree can be used as a type of Advent countdown to Christmas if you want – each day you can create another ornament to hang on the tree. The tree itself could be as simple as a branch that’s been placed in a pot (held secure with florist foam oasis or plaster or something similar). You can make the ornaments out of paper, felt, craft foam, and so on….they can be basic symbols that will remind you of the story or more detailed and elaborate as desired.
These sites offer free PDFs containing pictures of various Jesse tree symbols that you can use for your trees: