Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 21 and The Jesse Tree!

Today's recipe is one I've made on occasion when we had NO GROCERIES in the house. It is very easy but pretty tasty if you like that sort of thing.. What sort of thing? Beef Tips and Rice!

You will need:

1 pound of stew meat
1 jar/ can of gravy

No this isn't the healthiest meal, but it sure is comfort food at its finest. And I don't cook it every week. More like every two or three months. So we're good. Right?

Place the stew meat and gravy in the pot and cook on low for 8 hours or so. The meat is so tender and it is so filling. I serve it over rice and with a salad and a piece of french bread. Except sometimes without the salad. Comfort food, remember?

Have you ever heard of a Jesse Tree? It is a really neat idea if you want to weave Christ into the holiday season. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and was born into this world, perfect and blameless, to die for our sins so that we may have eternal life with Him. John and I really want to place more emphasis on Christ's birth than the gift-focused idea that is today's society. Don't get me wrong. We participate in the idea of Santa and do a lot of baking and naughty vs. nice conversation as much as the next family. We just want our kids to understand why we celebrate and that everything else is secondary.

On that note, I just heard about the idea of a Jesse Tree very recently (yesterday?) and decided it would be a really fun way to bring Christ into our daily routine leading up to Christmas Day. The problem was that it is a lot of work to try and translate it into something that small children will understand. So, if you are interested, I have taken the grunt-work out of it for you.

But you have to promise to look past my terrible artsy skills. You see, the problem is, I don't have any. So, that's a bit of a problem. But my heart is in the right place and I don't think my almost-five-year-old and seven year old will mind. So I hope you don't either.

Since advent actually started on November 27th and goes for 28 days until Christmas, we were a little behind so we actually will do a few each day until we are caught up..

This is the first ornament that we will place on our tree. It symbolizes "God's Family Tree". This actually worked out well that we just did JT's family tree assignment last week so the boys understood. Sort of. The scripture is 1 Samuel 16:1-13. It discusses how the Lord chose Jesse's youngest, most scrawny and unlikely "king material" son. And so our story begins...

Day 2: I chose the sun to symbolize creation. The scripture is Genesis 1: 24-28. This scripture ends with the Lord's command to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. This is where the journey starts.

Day 3: I chose the snake/serpent for this ornament because it symbolizes the fall of man and our need for a Savior, Jesus, to be born and rescue us. We read "The Terrible Lie" (Genesis 3:1-24) again from our Storybook Bible to remind the boys how doubt was placed in man's heart and how sad it made God. But God had a plan to bring us together again.

If you don't have a children's bible, I highly recommend this one. It integrates Jesus into every story and the importance of his birth. It's beautiful.

We sat down on the couch, letting the boys touch the ornaments and ask questions. Then we read the scriptures and talked about what they meant. Before they hung them on the tree we went over their meaning one more time. I pray that the Lord will speak to their tiny hearts through these small acts.


We 2 Bees said...

I love the Jesse Tree! We have been doing one for about 3 years now and it's amazing to listen to the kids talk and pray about Jesus. I have a link on my blog with a great one too, although I did just order and receive my Jesus bible yesterday! Love it! Hope you guys enjoy your walk through the bible!

brandy said...

How ironic that I have had posts about making sure my children know WHY we celebrate Christmas! I have not heard of the Jesse's tree, but it sounds exciting. I may have to plan this for next year! I will be posting about how we do Santa at our house (he brings three gifts to each child, bc the wise men brought three) and Jesus' Birthday cake. Thanks for sharing this Meredith. We really should get together more!