Congratulations! You’re geared up and ready to watch for Christ’s Coming.
Let’s assume you’ve joined the #30DayAdventChallenge. If you haven’t, do so here.
Now just a few more things, and you’ll be on your way.
In addition to your Ann Voskamp Jesus Advent Celebration devotional (find it here), you’ll also need:
1. A Jesse Tree.
In its most basic form, a Jesse Tree is simply a tree on which you will hang your Advent ornaments (printable ornaments are included in the devotional.)
Not sure what to get? Take a cue from Ann herself.
Your Jesse Tree may take on a number of wondrous forms: a silhouette of a tree may be sewn or painted, cut out of felt, quilted, hung from the fridge, a wall, a door, a window.
Or you may hang the ornaments on a small evergreen tree, a cluster of red dogwood branches, a pot of hemlock, pine, spruce, sticks or holly.
You may print out the ornaments on the end pages onto card stock, cut and laminate them and string them up, tape the ornaments, fasten them, button them, hang them on any tree of your own imagining or envisioning. Just whatever you do?
Anticipate Christ…and celebrate Christmas, His coming.
– Ann Voskamp, Jesus Advent Celebration
2. Wheat/Grass Seed (and a place to plant them)
Each time you complete the daily activity, you’ll spread some wheat or grass seed. The idea is that by the end of the challenge you’ll have enough to cut and place in your manger.
The first year I participated in the challenge, my seed yielded nada. I’m afraid to say my baby Christ was laid in a naked manger.
3. Christmas cards
This challenge has you writing Christmas cards. Lots of them…and even giving them to strangers.
So, just get a box. You’ll need them for Christmas anyway.
4. A Sweet Treat
The people around you are gonna love you this Advent because you’ll be showering them with gifts: cards and candy.
While you’re out Christmas shopping, be sure to pick up a bag of something sweet: maybe some chocolate, or even Christmas mints.
Feeling a little Betty-Crockerish? Bake some homemade fudge or cookies. Just be sure to save some for the challenge.
(5) A Gift Candle
One challenge activity involves gifting someone with a candle and lighting it for them.
I felt awkward lighting a candle I’d just seconds ago given as a gift (“Here’s your candle. Let me light that for you.” Awkward.)
So instead I simply bagged up a nice candle and presented it to someone.
(6) A Small Gift
One of the more – dare I say painful – activities is to present a small gift to someone with whom you have a strained relationship.
Like I’ve said, this challenge stretches you.
It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; simply an olive branch or peacemaker.
Not fond of this idea? Given that the purpose of this challenge is to impact you, I’ll tell you from experience: this changes your Advent season. For the better.
(7) A Small Plant
The beauty of this challenge is you get to purchase things you keep forever. Case in point: my Jesse Tree from five years ago flourishes in my front yard.
Another keeper? A small plant. Any will do, just plan on it being around long after the challenge is over.
(8) Red Twine or Yarn
One of the more moving activities of this challenge involves constructing a Cross out of sticks and displaying it.
The Cross will be held together with red twine or yarn, representing the scarlet Blood of Jesus.
You won’t need much; just enough to secure a cross stick to a longer one.
(9) Baby Jesus and a Manger
On Day 30 of the challenge – Christmas Day – you’ll cut your wheat or grass and construct a manger in which to place Baby Jesus. The plan is to display Him year-round.
Mangers are hard to come by, so I ended up purchasing a planter box.
Funny story: my baby Jesus was a doll with closeable eyes, and one of them opened only halfway. For the ensuing year, every time I walked past the manger Baby Jesus stared at me desperately, pleading with me to fix His eye. I never did.
Here’s where you get creative! You may use a wooden trough, tub, etc. If you’re handy, construct one yourself.
And there you have it! You are now officially ready to begin your #30DayAdventChallenge. We sincerely hope you join us as we anxiously await His coming. If you haven’t signed up, do so here.