We'll add the infant Jesus on Christmas morning, when we sing "Happy Birthday" to Him before opening gifts. My kids are so excited this year and are really getting into the spirit of the season. Dylan has developed a reverent obsession with nativities, and when he saw a set of miniature figures while shopping at Hobby Lobby, he begged us to buy them for him and then asked Darren to help him build a stable. Darren, of course, was more than happy to oblige, and their shared project was truly a labor of love. They spent most of yesterday out in the garage, measuring, sawing, gluing, drilling...I think St. Joseph would be proud!
This year we'll also be making a Jesse Tree for the first time. I've never made one, I've never even actually seen one, but I really love the concept of them and I think it will be a project that our whole family will be able to enjoy together. I had pretty much decided on this kit from Emmanuel Books, but then, while we were shopping at Hobby Lobby a few nights ago, I just happened to find some really cute wooden ornaments that I think will work very well. I also bought some colorful foam sheets from which we can cut any other symbols we need. I wasn't entirely sure what to do with the things we got, but I found an excellent set of instructions at Catholic Culture that we'll use, reading the corresponding scripture verses directly from our bible. (I also came across these instructions at another site, which suggests additional symbols that we may also incorporate.) And I'm really, really hoping that the beautiful, fragrant, potted rosemary we have will work as our tree!
And so we begin this Christmas season. It is such a joy to celebrate the miracle of our Savior's birth with my children, to see it all through their eyes, to remember all the traditions I so loved as a child and bring them to new life with my own kids, adding new ones as we grow.