Sunday, December 02, 2007

The First Sunday of Advent: The Jesus Stocking

The Jesus stocking is something I started when Anne-with-an-e was very young. I was looking for ways to keep our Christmas focused on Jesus rather than all the (delightful and fun though they are) other trappings of the holiday. It's a simple stocking and I used fabric paint to add His name. I sometimes think I should upgrade it to something worthy of our King, but on the other hand, I think perhaps He's pleased with the simplicity.

What goes in the Jesus stocking? It can be whatever you like. We've done it a couple of different ways.

Like the Thanksgiving Tree, each night at dinner we name something for which we're thankful, record it on a small piece of paper, and add it to the stocking. On Christmas day, it's fun to read all the blessings we've counted during Advent, from the littlest things (such as a tea party with Tigger), to grown-up concerns (such as being thankful that the car broke down in our driveway instead of twenty miles from home on a sub-zero day), to every-day-but-enormous joys (such as friendship, family and faith.) Here are some samples from years past:

Another idea for the Jesus stocking is to use it for corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Many of us are familiar with the idea of setting up a manger for baby Jesus and filling it with soft hay (we use yarn) in preparation for Christmas day. The idea for the Jesus stocking is similar. Corporal and spiritual works of mercy, small sacrifices, kindnesses and prayers are recorded and dropped in the stocking as gifts for Jesus. The children are encouraged to fill Jesus's stocking with gifts throughout Advent.

For much of Advent, the Jesus stocking will be the only one hanging on the mantle (the small tree to the right is our Jesse Tree):

to remind us that He is at the center of the celebration to which we look forward with such joy.

Surrounded by our favorite Advent books and calendars, this place of honor for the King is a constant reminder that what we anticipate in this season of hope is not a gift, but the Gift: our Lord and Savior.


Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

I love your Jesus stocking! That's great! By the way, we have similar Advent wreath images on our blogs. :)

God bless,

lapazfarm said...

Fantastic idea, Karen! What a wonderful tradition!

Kristen Laurence said...

Karen, I love this. And I think you're right, Our Lord is pleased with your beautiful simplicity.

Have a wonderful first Sunday of Advent!

Rebecca said...

This is a beautiful tradtition, Karen. Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

Jennifer said...

Great idea Karen! I think we will focus in on the corporal works of mercy. Thanks for the guidance!

Colleen said...

Thank you for the great ideas! You've become my main source for Lent and Advent ideas. They are so doable!

Karen E. said...

Thanks so much, everyone!

Donna, I saw that we have the same clip art! I can't get mine to flicker, though.