Michelle at Liturgical Time is hosting a Jesse Tree ornament swap.
I was excited to take part for the following three reasons:
By the time I'd gotten wind of the swap, many of the "good" ones were taken. Determined to make the most of my "do something crafty" point, I ran through the list for the most boring sounding ornament of all. I found it in Zechariah. Suggested symbols were pencil and paper. In my mind, it doesn't get much more boring than that. So I e-mailed Michelle and asked if she'd be kind enough to put me in for good old Zechariah so long as no one else had claimed him (not that I was even slightly worried he was taken, 'cause again... who takes Zechariah when there are cool folks like Adam, Eve, Noah, Elijah and Mary to choose from?).
When Michelle wrote me back and gave me the green light, I felt a quick pang. "Uh oh. It's official. Other folks are counting on me to come up with something that isn't gonna suck. Now what?"
I did a quick Pinterest search for Zechariah. Did a quick Google search. Did a quick check back on Michelle's page to see if I could grab someone else because, thus far, nothing on Zechariah looked at all appealing.
I stopped myself, though. I wanted to stick to my guns. I'm creative, gosh darn it! I could come up with something fun that embodies the theme of anticipation and summarizes Zechariah's place on the Jesse Tree. I could! I definitely could. Maybe. Hopefully.
So I thought about it for a bit. Zechariah's best known for being struck mute upon disbelieving that God would deliver a son to his wife, Elizabeth, and he. Given they were both older, he was incredulous. In fact, Zechariah wasn't able to speak again until little John the Baptist was born. While everyone was running around demanding that his son be named after Zechariah, mute Zechariah finally regained use of his voice to affirm the child's name as decreed by God.
How could I capture that?
Cue the Holy Spirit.
No, seriously. Circle pouch. I thought of a little zippered coin pouch that could serve as Zechariah, himself. I did a quick tutorial search and found this by Erin Erickson:
Pretty snazzy, right? She's got some cool stuff that way - go check her out!
Anywho, this looked simple enough. I figured I'd just modify the zipper portion so it was lower, put a "hanger ribbon" in place of the keyring, and slap some googly eyes on brown felt fabric to make Zechariah's face. Zippered shut signified his silence while opened up would signify his ability to speak. In addition to this unzippered mouth, I was contemplating a way to have a ribbon come out and be able to fold back into the pouch that said, "His name is John."
Well, I finally sat down to try my hand at this little pouch today. Since I wanted to get my students (and craft friends) involved, I wanted to hammer out the process. Thank God I did, 'cause I was a flat out disaster! Seriously. Disaster. Take a look at this sexy thing:
Go ahead and recoil in horror. Scream. Cry a little inside. That's what I did. In fact, when I showed my husband, he said, "That might just be the worst thing I've ever seen. Ever."
Alrighty then. So my little Frankenstein wasn't gonna cut it. I cannot sew in a circle, and the creepy little button eyes were getting to me. So I decided to go a sewing-free route. It took a few trial-and-error runs, but eventually, I got Zechariah looking a little more human:
And since I still wanted the anticipation of "opening his mouth" to be something the kids could look forward to when they used this little ornament year after year, I kept the creepy "John" ribbon and made it look a little less creepy:
Eventually I'll put a step-by-step up here for anyone interested in doing this little craft themselves. I'll save you the trouble of that first monstrosity. ;)
So far, though, most folks are tickled by the idea behind this ornament. Everyone loves pulling his mouth open to see "John" slide out, and it slides right back in again with the tug of the top part of the ribbon (that you can use to hang it). For kids, they'll look forward (with anticipation!) to opening Zechariah's mouth and hearing the story of how John the Baptist got his name. For adults, it'll hopefully be a good teaching tool in sharing the story of trusting in the goodness and power of God.
Now, I've got five made (sans that little monster face). Only 27 more to go (and I'll have the help of my students and a few craft-friends). WOO HOO!
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