Meet our Jesse Tree:
I’m not entirely sure if you can tell or not, but we are in the 4th week of Advent, and there are absolutely no ornaments up on this Jesse Tree!
But, I did better than last year – at least we have a Jesse Tree this year. Jesse Trees don’t have to be actual trees, but since I am allergic to arts and crafts, after receiving this small tree as a gift a couple years ago, I decided to assign the task of holding Jesse Tree ornaments to this little guy.
Meet our ornaments:
Not quite sure if you can tell, but these ornaments are “decorated” (a term I use lightly) up to Day 11. Why? Because we were running about a week behind. At this rate, we would be finishing up the weeks of Advent at the end of next week.
But, I did better than last year – at least my son has colored a little bit.
And, more importantly to me, he has learned about the foundation of his faith extensively this Advent season.
You see, in my effort to try to live more “liturgically,” and to do all the cool things I’ve never thought to do prior to becoming a mother, I have become more focused in “intentional parenting” (a phrase I am coining right here, right now, if it isn’t already in use). I am intentionally creating opportunities for which to have conversations about faith.
Two weeks ago, my son looked at me and asked, “But Mom, Jesus is just a story, right?” I saw his eyes widen as I answered, “You are correct – he is a story – but a story that really happened!” That spurred a conversation about history, and how things happen, they get written down, and we learn from what gets written into books. And, our chaplain chuckled when I confided I am worried about how I will tackle the questions the older my son gets – I was almost stumped by my four year old on a question which can be intensely theological for adults!
So, our Jesse Tree may only be standing in the corner of our dining room, with its star on top (the specific request of a four year old), unadorned with the ornaments we have yet to cut out. But, judging by the questions that get thrown to me from left-field, as we are waking up and starting our day, driving down the road, or doing various activities around the house or community, I know my son is being a sponge.
A recent conversation with my husband went like this:
Husband: Well, maybe you should talk to Santa and tell him you would like that.
M: Santa doesn’t listen to me.
Husband: What do you mean, ‘Santa doesn’t listen to you?!’
M: Santa only listens to God.
Husband: What do you mean?
M: God is the Father. Santa listens to his Father.
Husband: Ahhhh –
M: God is your Father, too, Daddy! He is everybody’s Father!
Husband: You are correct – hey, Mommy, did you hear what we were just talking about?!
My son is soaking up the times he hears me pray out loud. He is soaking up the explanations I give for sending prayers along with the Christmas cards mailed. He is learning to open doors for others, to be polite to others (although we are still working on not scowling “at strangers”), and to be generous with his material goods.
Pretty sure the “intentional parenting” notion is paying off, and even if the rest of this week we don’t touch any topic of religion, I would consider our Advent a success.
What are some of your favorite “stump the parent” questions or comments you have heard from your child/ren, or little ones? They don’t have to be religious in nature, but I’d love to hear what children have said that have given you pause to reflect as an adult!