Scripture: Matthew 24:37-44
37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Today begins my favorite season in the Liturgical Year: Advent! For me, there is something about the preparation and the waiting that really speaks to me. The other nice thing about Advent is that it forces you to slow down and really enjoy the preparations for the Christmas season.
Today, before our evening meal, we blessed our Advent Wreath and lit the first candle. We spent the entire meal trying to prevent the three-year-old from blowing the candle out (one of the reasons she loves going to Mass… candles EVERYWHERE!) but the evening was very spiritual.
What else is kind of neat is to try to imagine myself in the place of Mary. I have carried and borne two children and that last month of pregnancy is difficult. You are tired of being pregnant, baby is getting heavy, you definately have the pregnancy waddle going on and your joints are so loosey-goosey that you are afraid to do simple acts for fear of dislocation! I can’t be sure, but I can imagine that Our Blessed Mother felt the same way. But she was carrying no ordinary baby… she had the Savior of the world in her Womb! No pressure there.
One tradition that our family started last year is the Jesse Tree. It is an Advent Calendar (but there are no chocolates involved) that traces the linage and the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. The title comes from that Jesse was the father of King David. God promised David that his Kingdom would last forever – and that through him and his seed God would save his people and bless the world. Two centuries after the death of King David God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. (Isaiah 11:1-4)
During this season of Advent, I will be posting Jesse Tree Devotions, along with the ornament that we are using. There are different versions of the Jesse Tree out there and it’s great because each family can make it their own. The tree onto which we will be hanging our ornaments is painted on our sliding glass door… and if I may say so, it’s not half bad.
Edited to add: There are 24 Jesse Tree Ornaments, but 28 days in Advent. To make the ornaments last the entire Advent season, we are only doing Jesse Tree devotions on Monday-Saturday while the four Sundays of Advent will be reserved for candle lighting and whatever else your family does on the Sundays of Advent. I will post the Gospel Reading from that day though. Makes everything more uniform and us type A folks like that uniformity.
So, I hope you enjoy the devotions. I will try to post additional musings as time permits, but no promises. Don’t forget to enter to win an autographed copy of Little Star by Anthony DeStefano. You have until Dec 13! Click Here to see the post where you can enter!