Fourth Week of Advent

I thought last week’s post was late… this week’s was so late that we’ve inadvertently skipped a week! Welcome to the fourth and final week of Advent!

Maybe it’s appropriate for this week to be delayed a bit because of life being full. I was hoping this week to share some resources connected to the Advent Conspiracy – a church movement all about taking the focus away from consumption during Advent and instead focusing on worship, reducing spending, giving and spending time with people. There is a neat video about it: click though!

video-advent-conspiracy

Our Advent album recommendation this week is also an Advent Conspiracy one. Mike Crawford and his Secret Siblings, from Jacob’s Well church in Kansas City, have put together a fantastic album of original advent music in honour of the Advent Conspiracy. Proceeds from the album go to supporting water access programs.

music-mike-crawford

Our kids resource this week comes from Ali Beeston, who uses a couple of advent calendars to mark time during Advent with her toddler. She has some really helpful thoughts on explaining Advent and Christmas to a small child.

kids-beestons-ra

Other resources this week? We have a poem by Glen Scrivener – a video version as well – where you can see him delivering it performance poetry style! Also, with just a week to go until Christmas, this is the week for using the Antiphons to count down until Christmas day. You might like to use them in your personal devotions. Click through to find all the antiphons, and one of our favourite versions of O Come O Come Emmanuel – which is a musical version of all the antiphonal prayers.

advent-antiphons

 

poetry-glen-scrivener

Using a Jesse Tree

How do we teach children how to wait for God’s king?

The Jesse Tree is tried and true Advent tradition, used across Catholic and Protestant communities to tell the story of how God’s people waiting for their king to arrive.

In a classic Christian move, the Jesse Tree kind of reclaims one of those random Christmas traditions – in this case the Christmas tree – and turns it into a beautiful symbol for a gospel truth. Picking up on Isaiah 11, the tree becomes a reminder of God’s promise to restore Israel with a descendant from Jesse’s family.

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
    the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the spirit of counsel and might,
    the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-3

Households and churches that use Jesse Trees fill the tree day by day with different ornaments that represent significant moments in God’s plan to save the world through Jesus – starting with Genesis and ending with the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.

There are so many resources out there to help you set up your own Jesse Tree. Here are some of our favourites. If you aren’t sure where to begin with telling these Old Testament stories, we strongly recommend using the Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s the perfect way to cover the whole Old Testament and Christmas in 24 days.

jesse-treekids-earngeys kids-mclennans

Advent Calendar Inspiration

Another advent is just around the corner. How will you mark time this season? Will you use a daily calendar? Or a weekly candle in your Advent wreath? Will you work your way through a bible reading plan or a series of devotionals? Will you set up a Jesse Tree?

There are so many great resources out there to create your own Advent calendar. Check out our two collections below – a round up of 12 DIY advent calendars to make at home, and a list of different devotional materials or printables that you can use in your own calendar.

There’s also a link to our Advent Bible reading plan!

make-calendar make-calendar-fillers bible-reading-plan

Have you found any other great Advent calendar ideas? Please let us know about other great resources that you love to use in the comments!