As you most likely know, it's December. December means lots of fun things for our family. Celebrating Jesus, decorating the Christmas tree, visiting Austin's Trail of Lights, enjoying 80 degree temperatures, and taking a 30 hours trip back to China with three babes. Despite the busyness, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that Micah is old enough to actually take part in and maybe even remember family traditions that point to Baby Jesus and the wonder of His incarnate birth.
One idea I knew I wanted to pursue was the Jesse tree. It basically links together several stories from the Old Testament to track God's faithfulness in bringing about the promised Messiah. The name is derived from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse and a branch out of his roots." To make it fun & a bit different from our regular evening Bible time, there are ornaments that represent each story we read.
That's what got me...the ornaments. I got over-ambitious and started cruising Pinterest in November. I got overwhelmed and wanted to check myself into Pinterest time-out for not whittling my own Christmas tree out of a discarded wardrobe. So I took a few weeks off from caring to let my crafty nerves recover. No sooner had they bounced back from Pinterest PTSD did my friends & family begin posting their own Jessie tree creations.
Like my college friend Jenny. She & her friends did a Jesse tree ornament exchange, and she ended up with winner ornaments like this:
Well, that's ok, I told myself. Jenny had help. I can't expect such amazing-ness without a group of crafty women around me.
Then there was my own sister-in-law:
Good grief! She even embroiders in Hebrew!
But, I told myself, her skillz have been putting me to shame ever since I knew her. Plus, I surely can't expect that caliber of craftiness when I live in China.
But the kicker was what my friend April produced. From China no less!?!?
So I took matters into my own hands...and more or less gave up. Not really gave up. Just came to terms with the fact that something is better than nothing. And this is my little something:
Yes, those are scribbled drawings that are ripped off a coloring sheet and then hung with an unfolded paperclip. But here's the important thing that I need to remember:
Those smiles & that excitement in getting to read "the Bible book" each evening and continuing to plant seeds in their little hearts. That is more important than anything Pinterest could offer.
Another tradition I found that I wanted to start is called Shepherd Pouches. It's a spin on Christmas stockings that shifts the emphasis to receiving to giving. We talk to the boys about how we can give gifts to Jesus for His birthday just like we get gifts for our own birthdays. Because He tells us in Matthew 25:40 "As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me," we can give Him gifts like cheerful obedience to mama & daddy, kindness to friends, and considering brothers better than ourselves. We take note of any time we see acts like that, write it down, and let them drop it inside their shepherd pouch. Micah usually wants me to re-read every one he has, asking me, "What's this tell me?" On Christmas, we'll convert their slips of paper to money and donate it or buy something to a cause we support. This year, I think we're going to buy some copies of Sam's favorite book "Most of All, Jesus Loves Me" for Oak City Academy, an inner-city school that some friends of ours run.
So that's the story behind shepherd pouches. Then there was the actual construction. This is the only template I could find online:
Definitely not gonna happen! Problem #1 was that I can't sew. Problem #2 was that my SIL was too busy making her own family tradition crafts that she couldn't make them for me. So this was my solution:
|I do need to note that the stick figure people are my friend Ashley & her kiddos Beckett and Jolie. Micah specifically asked me to paint them for him.|
Plus, making them was almost as much fun as it has been to fill them.
So I've decided to come out of Pinterest hiding and commit myself to Pinterest Lite--reducing all inspiring ideas by 80% in order to make them moderately obtainable to this fledgling crafter. Either way, Christmas will be merry, albeit not very crafty!