Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jesse Tree: Day 8

Add caption
Today we hear about the covenant that God made with Abraham.  Our reading is based on Genesis chapter 15.  It relates the story of how God called Abram out of the land of Harran and chose him to be the father of his chosen people.  We read about how Abram and Sarai were without child, yet God promised that their descendants would outnumber the stars!  We read of the fulfillment of this promise with the birth of Isaac, whose name means laughter.  We once again begin to see the path God has planned establish His people and to set forth His divine plan for the salvation of the world.  Our ornament today is from our first Jesse tree ornament swap.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Jesse Tree: Day 7

Today we read about the trials of Job.  This is one of the reading we do not have an ornament to correlate.  We plan to frame an icon of Job for next year.  Our reading comes from the book of Job, and tells how Job was a righteous man before God.  Satan wished to show that men are only faithful to God in times of good, and so God allowed Satan to submit Job to many tests of faith.  We hear how despite all of the trials he endured, Job did not sin against God, and God rewarded him.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jesse Tree: Day 6

After God cleansed the earth, Noah and his family were called to once again spread about the earth, be fruitful and multiply.  Unfortunately, when offered the opportunity to once again follow the Lord, the people chose instead to glorify themselves.  They decided to build a tower that might reach God.  They wished to create something that could compete with the heavens, that could challenge the creation of God.  Their pride led them to build a tower, and so God confused their speech, that man might never try to come together to become like God.  Our reading tonight comes from Genesis 11.  The ornament was made by the Queen from sc*lpey clay.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jesse Tree: Day 5

Noah and the Flood
On the fifth day we hear from Genesis 6-9.  We have heard how the first man chose to turn from God, and broke communion with Him.  Now we hear how his descendants followed the same path, descending ever deeper into darkness and further from the love of God.  This is a challenging story to read to children. It is hard to imagine the reality of this event; God wiping most of His creation off the face of the earth.  Yet, we must also recall that God offered such incredible grace and opportunity for repentance.  Noah prepared for over one hundred years.  Over one hundred years for people to repent, to turn from sin, to turn back to God.  Only Noah chose to walk with Him.  And so God made His covenant with Noah, and set the rainbow in the sky as a sign.  Our ornament for today is a rainbow created from pony beads and cotton balls, and we love how it glows in the evening light!  Our Nativity book reading continues from the previous evening, with A Perfect Christmas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nativity Reading: Day 4

Tonight we began reading A Perfect Christmas.  It is a longer one, so we will likely spent the next couple of nights reading portions of it.  I love the illustrations by Niko Chocheli, made even more meaningful by our experience meeting him.  He is truly a kid at heart (he spent one evening with my son playing soccer with ping pong balls until close to midnight!), and I find his drawings to have an intensity and beauty that match the stories he illustrates.

Jesse Tree: Day 4

The Fall

This evening we take time to consider how humanity turned away from God.  In Genesis 3 we hear how Adam and Eve chose themselves over God.  Because of that decision, sin and death entered the world, and God's beautiful creation became ill.
The ornament for our readings is a small red satin Christmas ball, on which green felt leaves are glued.  It is a fitting reminder to us as Orthodox Christians as we enter this fasting season.  What a profoundly heavy knowledge it is, that the first disobedience of God was one of food.  It is a sobering reminder each time we are called to fast, if we take a moment to consider that little detail, and ponder how many times we choose that which we have been asked not to eat.  It is also a profound message on the healing power of striving to follow the fast.  As we submit ourselves to the church and God, we draw closer to Him.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nativity Reading: Day 3

One of my favorites.  If you are looking for an excellent book that lays out the Christmas story, answers many questions children have, and offers very theologically correct answers, this is one of the best.  A gift from the crocodile hunter's godmother, we have been reading this book for over 10 years now, and we all still enjoy it!