The days between December 1st and the 25th is full of activities such as parties, eating, giving and receiving gifts, parades, Christmas shows, shopping, decorating, singing Christmas carols, creating memories and special traditions.
Lindsay McConnell Evatt found herself last year at this time experiencing a miserable Christmas due to some big decisions she had to make and some health issues she was dealing with. Lindsay said that when November rolled around this year she found herself dreading the Christmas season like never before; remembering how bad it was last year didn't help the matter. Lindsay said, "I can't really explain why I was dreading it so much. I've always loved Christmas!"
God then really began to deal with Lindsay about the true meaning of Christmas and how little she was stressing that with her children. She said her thoughts went on for days and she was heartbroken by the honesty with herself.
Lindsay said though they read the Christmas story every year and try to stress the reason for the season, we ALWAYS find ourselves so busy running from event to event and stressed to the max because we're spending money to the max all to celebrate Jesus' birthday? She said it all just didn't make sense, "Nothing was adding up to me, my heart wanted so much more out of Christmas, but so much more would mean so much less."
That is when she began researching the Advent practices.
Advent is recognized on the Christian calendar as the four weeks prior to Christmas; it's taking the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas to intentionally focus your time and efforts on the coming of Christ, his first coming to this world as a baby and His second coming when he returns. Lindsay said, "It's intentionally slowing the fast pace that we typically set for ourselves at Christmas." Lindsay has started a new tradition this year for her family to slow down Christmas; the Jesse Tree.
Representation usually in carving or stained glass of the genealogy of Jesus
as a tree with Jesse at the base and intermediate descendants on branching scrolls of foliage.
"Unwrapping the Greatest Gift"
by Ann Voskamp
|Lindsay McConnell Evatt's inspiration for the Jesse Tree and her families |
Jesse tree her dad (Tim McConnell) made.
"I absolutely love traditions, new and old, and I also live to have ones that are so rich in meaning and help me to visualize things. Though some may think it's very ritualistic, celebrating Advent has been just what my heart needed this Christmas season."- Lindsay McConnell Evatt
|The Evatt's Jesse Tree;|
Devotion with their three children.
As a family, no matter how busy our days are, we set aside time each night in recognition of Advent. We have chosen to light candles on our Advent wreath (all rich in meaning) as we do our devotions each night. Our devotions are focused on people in the Bible from the family tree that Jesus comes from, starting with Adam and Eve, all the way to the birth of Jesus. Taking the time to recognize all along the way, that it is part of our family tree as well. -Lindsay McConnell Evatt
|Day 1: Shoot springing forth from Jesse Tree|
All ornaments are hand painted by
Wes Evatt (Lindsay's husband)
|Day 2: In the beginning...|
|Day 3: Fell for the lie that God didn't|
|Day 4: Christ comes like an ark;|
|Day 5: Promise Land, the blessing is His presence.|
"We are slowing the usual pace of the season for our family. Saying no to the hustle and bustle and taking the time each day to anticipate the coming of our Savior. And it's working! The kids are excited and Christmas has never been so alive to me. I'm breathing in the moments and God is speaking louder than ever before." -Lindsay McConnell Evatt