Mark and Tanya Earngey
This is our little Christmas tree – though we call it by a funny name, it’s our ‘Jesse tree’.
In this Advent period of waiting, our little family tradition is to decorate a beautiful Christmas tree as a way of spiritually preparing for the celebration of the coming of Christ. We go to a tree farm, pick a tree together, cut it down and bring it home to be adorned with decorations!
When we do this, we remember the how the ancient prophet Isaiah tells of a shoot coming forth ‘from the stump of Jesse’ (Is. 11:1). And we love how these poetic oracles speak of beautiful fruit coming from this stump. Of course, these words are foretelling the coming of Christ, and his bearing spiritual fruit across the globe. And that’s what our little tree is about. Jesus.
And this year we’ve got a little devotional plan with our Jesse tree.
In the mornings, our little daughter Grace gets up (far too early!) and comes to pick out a special yellow star of her choosing. Each little star has a short prayer on it (for godchildren, family, friends, etc) and we pray through that prayer over breakfast.
In the evenings, when the bright shining lights bring the Jesse tree alive, we pick out a day from our Advent calendar. This of course, has been a labour of love for Tanya, and is made up of a cupcake tray and little pictures attached by magnetic tape. Below each of the pictures is a Bible verse about the first advent of Jesus, and we read that before bedtime.
So that’s our Jesse tree. It’s a bit of fun, and it’s far from perfect, and we’re not very good with routines – so it’s a bit of a family experiment. But we love doing it because we love Jesus. And we want our little family to grow to love Jesus more and more every Christmas.
‘For you little child, Jesus Christ has come, he has fought, he has suffered. For you he entered the shadow of Gethsemene and the horror of Calvary. For you he uttered the cry, “It is finished!” For you he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven and there he intercedes – for you, little child, even though you do not know it. But in this way the word of the Gospel becomes true. “We love him, because he first loved us.”’ – French Reformed Baptismal Liturgy.
Mark, Tanya, and Grace live in Sydney’s western suburbs. They are part of God’s family at Toongabie Anglican.
 And before the exegetical police reading this come and turn their sirens on, remember that it’s a metaphor. Take a deep breath and remember: metaphors consist of analogies and disanalogies. Phew.