Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Lesson from the Jesse Tree

For the past three years our family has done something called a Jesse Tree for the Advent season. Each year progresses a little more in tradition and activity.

Why I thought of this particular "activity" to bring the story of Abraham and Isaac to life I don't know. It probably won't be a part of our annual tradition, but perhaps it put some emotion behind the oh so familiar stories for the kids.

Anyone who knows my kids knows that they are hopelessly attached to a certain puppy and hippo. You could say, from the perspective of their little minds, that they love them like sons.

With this love in mind, after we read the story of the long awaited Isaac, I asked them what they would do if they had to give up something that they loved...say...puppy or Augustine... if God asked them. It was a certain "yes" until I told them that I might ask them to do that. To give up their beloved animals. (yes...I can feel your "she's so mean" thoughts)

Well, I had intended to draw out the sacrificial thoughts until the next night when we learned about the ram who took Isaac's place, but I could see after only 30 min of the thoughts that it would be a very long day. I got the lesson over with...telling them that I wanted to take their animals and asking them to obey and trust me. OH THE TEARS! But they both obediently (and yet with distress) handed them over. I was then able to share the saving grace of an ending and there was much joy and dancing.

I must admit that I had a tear in my eye watching the drama and wished I could relent. Love, sacrifice and trust...these lessons in life will never ever end.

I have a feeling that they will never look at this story the same again.

Rest well boys, your animals are safe.

9 comments:

Sheri said...

Oh, the tears of sacrifice.....
but greater is the joy of obedience...
and then, the overwhelming, mind-bloggling provision!

I'm feeling alittle like I am in the sacrificing stage these days but there is joy and I KNOW the provision is just around the corner.

The boys loving their animals so much has brought a smile to my face many times. Good (hard) lesson.

JPB said...

Love, sacrifice and trust...these lessons in life will never ever end.

Not to mention fear, paranoia, and psychologist bills.

Why don't you go back to letting Noah and Oliver fight while you video tape it. ;-)

I can't wait till they start imitating your style of lesson application. Can't you just see Jakey holding up a toy that Noah and Oli are fighting over and enacting the Solomon story ... only going through with it?

Janine the Bean said...

I love it Jon.

The Solomon story is one my boys seem to get a kick out of. They don't really understand the story...just that a guy was going to cut a baby in half.

It will come.

Mainely Me said...

Jon, Jodi will need to forward the psychologist bills to you. If I remember correctly, you pulled the Solomon threat on your sisters. Jodi would have been the one to save the "life" of the disputed object, as the other two would probably have said,"COOL".

JPB said...

OK, I can't say it comes as a surprise that I would have done that.

JPB said...

But all those bills are coming back to you for telling me Dad was fired from his job as an April fool's joke.

Janine the Bean said...

I have to confess.

I really liked Jodi's idea, so did it with my own boys. We're doing the Jesse Tree as well with similar readings.

I took it a step further and I put their puppies in the top oven....and turned it on....they didn't know that I had turned on the BOTTOM oven though.

Aidan was quite impacted by it all. But I do have to say that his tears got to me. It was a pretty powerful lesson for ME as well.

He has told me numerous times since, "That must have been REALLY hard for Abraham."

I'll just add the psychologist bills to the ones mom and dad are probably still paying off for me. We're all messed up.

Mainely Me said...

You kids are impossible! But I really do think the object lesson was a good one. I doubt they will soon forget it!
Janine, don't be surprised if Dom "sacrifices"something in the oven.

Janine the Bean said...

Good point mom. That kid is a challenge. I'm sure it would be something of Aidan's if he did though.