It’s the most wonderful time of year… Christmas, which means
presents, Santa, Rudolph, wish lists… advent! Advent? It’s the time of preparation for the coming of Jesus. Advent is celebrated in the weeks leading up to the birth of Jesus, but many kids don’t have a clue what it’s all about. As a young child, I remember advent meaning families lighting candles in a wreath at the front of the church. I didn’t understand until later what each really meant. Celebrating advent is an important part of teaching kids that Christmas is not about getting lots of presents, santa, or that silly elf on the shelf, but about Jesus, the most wonderful gift we could ever receive!
Although advent may have started December 1 for some, and yesterday (the 4th Sunday before Christmas for others), it’s not too late to begindaily helping kids understand the advent season and the importance of Christ’s coming.
I’ve found a few resources to help kids understand advent.
The Family Advent Calendar. This website was put together by my friend Jenny Funderburke, and is a great daily resource for kids and families. It provides Scripture passages, videos, discussion questions, and activities to do together as a family each day. I love that it’s a daily reminder for kids. Sometimes when we jump from week to week, kids easily get wrapped up in other things and seem to forget what they are learning. What better way to reinforce those things than to spend time together daily remembering why we celebrate?!?!
The Advent Conspiracy. This project is geared toward churches, but they provide a short kids curriculum for four weeks, with Scripture passages, activity pages, and discussion questions. It’s a great way to teach kids about the importance of giving rather than receiving.
The Grateful Christmas Project. A late find (after initial blog post). While this isn’t strictly about advent, I love it! Scroll to the bottom of the post by Ann Voskamp to find seven ways help kids be more grateful this Christmas. Great stuff here!
Search the web or pinterest. If you’re crafty, you’ll find lots of ideas for making a homemade advent calendar… and many, many more ideas to fill those advent calendars with daily activities. Be careful in your search. Many advent calendars have become purely family fun activities, which are not bad, but do not accomplish the goal of teaching kids about keeping Christ at center stage this Christmas. This blog site also had a number of ideas as well.
The Gospel, God’s Plan for Me. In the advent season, let’s not neglect helping kids understand the gospel, the whole reason for Jesus coming to earth to dwell with man. In this advent season, a new resource for sharing the gospel with kids has been released from LifeWay! I’m so excited about this… it’s a project I got to help lead, and I hope it will be a tremendous resource for children’s leaders and parents. Check it out and add it to your advent calendar… maybe even read a page or two (and the accompanying Scriptures) during a week of your own advent calendar planning. Maybe next year, I’ll write a series of family advent devotionals to use alongside this small booklet.
How do you help kids keep Christ at the center of Christmas? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! I’m most excited about the online Family Advent Calendar!