Monday, November 17, 2008

A No-Panic Advent, Part I: The Jesus Stocking

The Jesus stocking is something I started when Anne-with-an-e was very young, and 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 (I keep thinking I should upgrade it to something worthy of our King, but on the other hand, I think perhaps He's pleased with the simplicity) and I used fabric paint to add His name.

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

Like the Thanksgiving Tree, each night at dinner, we all name something for which we're thankful. It's written on a small piece of paper, and added to the stocking. On Christmas day, it's fun to read all the blessings that were 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.


Anonymous said...

I love this idea, the idea of having a written record of our blessings, big and small, tangibly offered to Jesus. And it's simple enough that we could stick to it throughout all of Advent...unlike so many of my best intentions. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Karen. I'm new to your blog and was wondering if you would do a post on your Jesse Tree and what you do with it. Thanks!

mel said...

This is awesome. I thought I had too many traditions going on to even think of doing anything else, but I think I will have to add this one anyway, it's great!