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Shepherds Filled With Joy

When I think of Christmas, I remember my kids’ faces when they opened that special gift. Each year, I worked hard to find the present that would be the ONE that caused the screams of surprise, the look of love, and the huge hugs. The ONE that caused their faces to beam with pure joy. I loved writing down what they wanted, then going to buy them, and hiding until they ripped off the paper and found the surprise. Sometimes, that look happened when they entered the family room and saw presents too big to wrap (or I was too tired to cover them). 

 

My family loves Christmas Day. I love the whole Advent season. I love making the wreath, lighting the candles, singing carols, and decorating our Jesse Advent Tree. In Germany, I learned about the Jesse Advent Tree tradition. 


While stationed in Germany one fall, I collaborated with 24 ladies to create our own Jesse Tree Kits. We each took one day of December, which correlates to a different Scripture and story. I chose Day 7, Joseph’s coat of many colors, based on Genesis 37. I made 25 little multicolored coats to swap with the ladies. We gathered on November 30 and exchanged ornaments. So, I gave away 24 of my coats and gained 24 unique creations. Then, using the book at the bottom of this article, we read a devotion and placed the appropriate creation on our Jesse Tree during December. This tradition brings me joy because it reminds me of some prophecies about Jesus.


I carefully store my Jesse tree ornaments as we take down our decorations each year. I count them and make sure I know where they are. Over the years, I have done this tradition at many locations, and this reminder of women’s creativity blesses me each time. I have collected sets for each of my children, and I pray these sets will bring them great joy, too.


The third candle, named Joy, represents the Shepherds. The Angels told them to spread the joy of Jesus’ birth. Just as my family and I find it difficult to contain our joy at Christmas, the Shepherds had the privilege of sharing the first great joyful news of Christ’s birth. 


Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd, so it is appropriate that the first visitors would be shepherds. They worked in the fields, ensuring the flocks were cared for and accounted for. They were shocked, frightened, and eventually filled with joy by the angel’s announcement, with a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God. 


Advent builds our excitement and joy as we look to the birth of our Savior and the Second Coming of our King of Kings.



Scriptures to meditate on while we grow in our faith:


Psalm 148:1-2

Luke 2:8-20 

Psalm 23

Revelation 19:1-2


Hymns to sing with your family:


While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

Away in the Manger

Joy to the World


The Advent Jesse Tree: Devotions for Children and Adults to Prepare for the Coming of the Christ Child at Christmas: Dean Lambert Smith: 9781426712104 - Christianbook.com



Jennifer Wake is the 2023 AFI Fort Belvoir Spouse of the Year. She is an Army wife, mother of 3 grown children, teacher, and writer. She is a chemistry/physics teacher by trade, an Accredited Financial Counselor by interest, and a writer/speaker of God’s Word by His calling. She is married to an Army Chaplain and has served in chapels in various locations, from Germany to the Mojave Desert. Over the past 25 years, she has made a home for the Wakes 14 times and persevered through multiple deployments. God has called her to mentor military spouses, especially chaplain spouses who serve sacrificially. Her passions include writing books and blogs, developing Bible training material, networking with women in the military, and professional quilting. She volunteers with Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) wherever she is stationed and with Planting Roots, a ministry for military women by military women. She resides in Springfield, VA, with her wonderful husband and dog and enjoys her quilting room.



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