Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jesse Tree Pressure!!

The Jesse Tree!!
In some ways I am sad about what I am about to divulge but frankly I wonder how many more families struggle with this beautiful, but for me pressure filled tradition. In fact I have struggled with the concept of sharing what I see as my own failure in this area of Liturgical living within our family.

Each Advent I start with renewed expectations and hopes about the advantages of the Jesse Tree Tradition.
We get out both our Jesse Tree countdowns and start the readings for each day placing the appropriate ornament on each tree and then we come into the reality of our life.

I am not sure why it happens this way but perhaps it is our family circle at the moment and the fact we have so many feast days during Advent that take our attention of the Jesse Tree BUT we seem to constantly find that we miss a day - or two, or (shamefully) more and start the 'catch up game' of reading more than one reading at a time.

Sadly I then lose the inspiration and over the last few years we have not completed all the readings.

In fact if you look at both our Jesse Trees in this post you will see we did not finish again this year.

Granted we had some additional guests arrive, even though they were welcome and we enjoyed their company, the preparation for this consumed us also. I have also seem a pattern when looking back on past calendars that for what ever reason we seem to have significantly more appointments and outside activities than for other times of the year. In addition it is Summer here in Australia and this in itself adds new and different dimensions to our daily life as opposed to Advent and Christmas being in Winter like in the Northern Hemisphere.
Now this may seem to be just finding excuses and perhaps it is, which brings me to the conclusion that perhaps I feel the need to justify WHY we have not completed the Jesse Tree each year because I feel pressure to do so.
You know, obviously that is what all good Christian parents do with their children in the lead up to Christmas. It is a worthwhile and educationally rewarding activity to share with our children and so in my mind I do want to give our children the best we can offer. Yet each year I find myself sadly lacking and feeling guilty over this lack of apparent  education.

I wonder to myself -
Do other families experience this obligation to do the Jesse Tree or is it just me?
Does anyone feel the pressure to attempt this each year?
Do other families finish it and feel great joy and fulfilment in learning more in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus?
Are we missing so much in our inability to do this?
Or is it just us and our family that have some difficulty with this very worthwhile Advent activity?

So I am looking forward to some input on your own experiences with the Jesse Tree in your own homes during the Advent season, either positive or negative.

I really would like to know!!

Blessings to you and your homes,
 

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you refer to this as "failure." Look at all your family celebrations and lovely traditions. It is a trade off. there is no person or family that can (in reality) "do it all." As families we choose the important devotions and feast days most dear to us. We do without waver the Jesse tree, Lenten tree through the fifty days of Easter tree because for our family it vividly shows the continuity of the life of Christ from creation to the Resurrection which is our Salvation; but you definitelly celebrate many more feast days than we do. So am I a failure? I hope not. It seems to me we both are doing our best to point our beloved children in the direction of Jesus. That's the goal, right?

Anonymous said...

Stop beating yourself up! The Jesse Tree is a formal methodical tool to remember the path and message of Christmas. In a larger family the excitement building is a testament to the importance the family places on Christmas. The children see the love, patience and dedication you spend on those 'other' activities and preparation and know how important Christmas is to the family. For a day-by-day breakdown to bring the family back to the real meaning of Christmas use the Jesse Tree ... to live the meaning of advent is to all be busy preparing and living the message of Christmas ... living the message of Christ.
David

Amy Hutcheson said...

You are not alone! We have struggled each year to finish our Jesse tree. And either ended up with a half finished tree, or plowing through the readings just so we can say we finished it. :( So this year I did not even do it. And I did not let myself feel guilty about it. (or at least not to guilty:) Instead we did an activity I found online. And loved it. God bless

Blessings! said...

I love your admition here, but really it's not needed. You know what your family can do in a month, and completely honest here, we missed the last two in our LITTLE bitty Jesse tree of our own. I was thinking about it though, does it HAVE to be a december thing? Can we read through this at a different time like when we are going over family geneology or when we talk about one of the people in the bible in His family tree, then can we cover it a little more? It's just been my thought this year. And we have only had it in the family for two years now. *smile* We are VERY new to this presentation for our little family. We don't have a lot of feasts nor do we run harder during December than in other months but for some reason with verses for AWANAs and our nightly advent reading that is focused on the prophecy and birth of Christ, I seem to let the newest addition, our Jesse tree go by the way side also. Any ways, those are my thoughts on the tree and all it intails. Just thought I would encourage you in this area too. Family trees are interesting be them our own or those in the bible. *smile* I think the Jesse tree is a way to make them fun to study. *smile* Have a blessed Wednesday. Sincerely, Mommy of two little blessings & so much more!

Blessings! said...

I love your admition here, but really it's not needed. You know what your family can do in a month, and completely honest here, we missed the last two in our LITTLE bitty Jesse tree of our own. I was thinking about it though, does it HAVE to be a december thing? Can we read through this at a different time like when we are going over family geneology or when we talk about one of the people in the bible in His family tree, then can we cover it a little more? It's just been my thought this year. And we have only had it in the family for two years now. *smile* We are VERY new to this presentation for our little family. We don't have a lot of feasts nor do we run harder during December than in other months but for some reason with verses for AWANAs and our nightly advent reading that is focused on the prophecy and birth of Christ, I seem to let the newest addition, our Jesse tree go by the way side also. Any ways, those are my thoughts on the tree and all it intails. Just thought I would encourage you in this area too. Family trees are interesting be them our own or those in the bible. *smile* I think the Jesse tree is a way to make them fun to study. *smile* Have a blessed Wednesday. Sincerely, Mommy of two little blessings & so much more!

Vicky said...

Dear Gae, I think that sometimes it's worthwhile to do a little less and allow the children time to absorb what they've learnt. There'll be a lot more Christmases to fill in the gaps.

Our family likes to concentrate on the Jesse Tree and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The rest of the time, I like to be quiet and peaceful so we can be reflective. But this year, we didn't do much, at all, as everyone was sick for the whole month. We still have one child in hospital with pnuemonia so I guess our Christmas preparation was our penance.

I hope you're enjoying the holidays.
God bless, Vicky

Gae said...

Dear Readers,
I am so pleased to hear, that others do relate to my struggle to want to provide the best opportunities for our children to learn about the birth of Jesus. I do need to just accept what we can and can't do for our family. I can see that certain 'seasons' within our lives lend themselves to certain activities and obviously the Jesse tree does not fit in to our season at the moment. But who know in the future?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter.
God Bless
Gae

rox said...

Lol Oh my I never thought of it until now but I feel a tad guilty that I perhaps placed the Jesse Tree preassue onto another ! yes I gave ours away . I'd even had dh make me a special one out of dowels . I tried for about 6yrs Gae ! I can't beleive I put that much stress on myself over and over again .
as the others have said we can only do so much ! . our children love the advent wreath and the special prayer books they each made with prayers for each day in advent . that is it .we already have daily mass readings , that includes advent . yes it is nice to share the story of the Jesse Tree but just to much for me to do two sets of readings everyday .plus like you said feast days ! so I have not attempted the Jesse tree for the last 4 yrs the year I took on catechism class .

Gae said...

Oh Rox you are so funny too.
I love that you are able to have your won traditions with your family and that you share them too
Love Gae

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