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Today we are thrilled to welcome Amy Waters, beloved friend and fellow homeschool mother. Many of you may have enjoyed Ann Voskamp’s free Jesse Tree Advent Devotional last year? Well, Amy, shares a fresh way of looking at it…
Last year I was contemplating what gifts to give my sister and her family.  Should I give something to each of them or a family gift?  They had recently moved in with Dad to regain their financial stability.  So there was not a great deal of room and I didn’t want to contribute to the clutter.  Not to mention, that we are trying very hard not to get ourselves into debt.  Thankfully, the Lord sent me this scripture.

2 Corinthians 8:12
For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

But still, what to give?  My nieces 6 months and 2 ½ years old, would, I knew, receive many expensive and space consuming toys from their grandparents.  So, I decided to try a family gift for them all.  And almost as I had made this decision, Ann Voskamp released her free Advent Jesse Tree Book!  Don’t you just love her and her way with words?  With The Word!  We have a Jesse Tree at our house and love it.  It really keeps us focused on the true gift and reason for Christmas.  My sister had always expressed a degree of sadness about this season, based on childhood experiences.  Tons of toys when they were little and less each year as they got older had led her to be disillusioned with Christmas.  She wanted to be able to give her children more every year so that they would not have this experience.  I was hoping to give her a tradition that lasted a whole season, instead of endless hours of shopping and overspending that culminated in an hour long frenzy of unwrapping and then the inevitable end.  Again, The Lord supplied the wisdom in a verse.

1 Corinthians 12:31
Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

So I printed out the Advent Jesse Tree Book and made sure to put in cardstock for a lasting gift.  I cut out the ornaments with Selena’s help and we glued them to colored construction paper.  The hole puncher was pulled out and Selena made holes in all of them.  Then we tied colored yarn to each one to hang it on.  I picked some pretty colored cardstock for the cover and neatly stapled the book into the cover.  Then we went to Michael’s with a coupon and bought a large faux book box to put it all in.  Every year we will make it a tradition to bring them some lovely curly branches from out contorted filbert to use as their tree.  I am hoping this will help them to get started on a family tradition that will have a more satisfying and lasting feeling.  God has promised to help me, help them, to remember with this verse.

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

I give thanks to God and to people like Ann who use their gifts to serve and encourage other.

1 Peter 4:10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others

I was a hopeless waste that The King rescued and restored.  I know I came late to you Lord and I am ever grateful for your everlasting love and patience. Married at 33 to my dear hubby Kenneth.  We lived through 6 years of childlessness and all that that entails.  Christmas 2000 I gave my heart to my King and he miraculously healed me and I became pregnant. Now I am a stay at home, homeschooling mama to the evidence of Jesus’s incredible mercy! I love to sew and cook.  I love the great outdoors.  I love my church and my homeschool group.  And my kitchen is frequently overtaken with costumes for our drama troupe.  It currently looks like a wedding boutique! Finally saved! ~Amy