Right before we started this year’s Jesse Tree I decided, on the good advice of a friend, to try a new Advent study by Ann VosKamp, author of One Thousand Gifts. Wow. While Ann is a great author, it’s not her or her amazing writing that has me so taken this year, but the way she has of painting such a clear picture of Jesus, of helping me to wrap my mind around His word – to GET Christmas.
Tonight I was in my usual hurry to rush all the kids to bed when Jonah said he was really hungry. So I relented since the other two were asleep. I got him his snack, and as he sat down he said, “Mom. We forgot to do the Jesse Tree.” Good little man. I see God bringing that heart of his closer still all the time. So we settle down to do our study for December 5. Genesis 22:1-14, the story of Abraham, his only son and a ram in the thicket. Jonah reads the scripture. And let me add as a side note, that there is just about nothing cooler than listening to your child read God’s word. He’s reading the story and suddenly this story isn’t just some story, it’s real to me. My son, my only son, is reading about a parent consenting to obey God and give up that son. Agony.
Jonah pauses, turning to me, and says, “I bet Isaac was scared.” I nod. I bet he was too. But he obeys his father, carries the wood for his own sacrifice and lays down on the altar. And as we get to part where God provides the ram in the thicket, Jonah smiles. And tonight he learns the meaning of the word provide, although he’s known that concept for a long time. Having gone through such lean times these past two years, Jonah has experienced God’s provision so many times, and I am so thankful.
At the conclusion of the reading, there is a note to take a paper and write down 10 ways God provided for us today. We did. For our friends, for my job, for a washer and dryer, for love . . . and we placed our list under the Jesse Tree to remind us that God is our Provider. Jehovah-Jireh.
Thank you Lord, for the Jesse Tree. I’ve been in and out of sorts with a lot of mess going on the in the background. I am so glad to be drawn in again to His presence, to remember, that in it and through it all, He provides.