Advent Week 1: God Is with Us
Have you started listening to Christmas music yet? Do your kids have their lists made? I know the stores have definitely started with their decorations. As I type this, Thanksgiving isn’t even here, and yet the rush of the holiday season is already at risk of stealing the joy it’s meant to foster. Hosting a fun event for many friends, for example, can easily turn into an occasion for anxiety and stress—an “extra” task in a vast sea of tasks. This Christmas season, I encourage you to not allow what you have to do diminish the joy of what you get to do, like, for example, teach your children the true meaning of Christmas.
Advent, which means “coming” or “arrival,” is a time when we get to look forward to Christmas. While advent can be viewed as an old church tradition, it is truly meaningful because it helps us take not just one night–Christmas Eve–to focus on Christ’s story, but a whole month! This may feel like yet another task that will take up time, but trust me: When you’re teaching kids, one month is definitely better than one day. That is why, this year, we are providing you with some ways to help make Christmas about more than just Santa and presents.
This weekend, our pastor, Christian Andrews, will introduce us to the Christmas season by talking about who God is. The Bible tells us that Jesus is called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” That means that, if we want to know who God is, we should look at the story of Jesus. As your kids grow, they will be trying to figure out who they are and, since they were created in God’s image, they will only be able to figure that out if they have a good picture of who God is. If I am created like God, then I have to know who God is before I can fully understand who I am. That is why teaching them about Jesus during this advent season is so important!
Now, I know our schedules are already full, which is why I have provided a few different ways you can go a little deeper with your kids this advent season. So take a look below and choose something that will fit your family.
Advent by Week
To celebrate advent each week with your family, create your own advent wreath. This can be a tradition you really delve into with your kids by taking a trip to the craft store and getting all the supplies, or you can simply take some candles from home and put them in a circle. If it stresses you out and makes you forget why you’re doing it, then just keep it simple. Either way, your kids will love gathering around and lighting those candles! If you want to go the traditional route, then you will want to buy five candles: three purple, one pink, and one white.
Sunday, November 27, marks the first week of advent. When you gather with your family this week, you will be lighting one of the purple candles: the “prophecy” candle. Talk about the word “prophecy” with your kids; they probably already have their own idea of what a prophecy is! Make sure that they understand that a prophecy is when God gives us a hint or a preview of the future. When Jesus was born, everyone knew He was God’s Son because God gave us many hints telling us what would happen.
To take this a step further, get out some craft supplies (or just a paper and crayons) and have everyone in your family make an ornament (or draw a picture) without anyone else seeing. When everyone’s done, ask each “creator” to give us a “prophecy,” or a “hint,” as to what the image might be. Then, have some fun while everyone else tries to guess! For example, if you draw a snowman, your “prophecy” might be that “It will be white” or “It will have a carrot for a nose.” Afterward, you can talk about how, when the creator (God) gives a prophecy, it is always true because He knows all things. After all, He created everything!
Advent by Day
Is even looking at a blog hard for you? Click here and print out our advent calendar, or pick one up in the kids’ space on Sunday! Here, you will find short sentences that will slowly tell the Christmas story over the month. There are also suggestions for each day that will help you reinforce our monthly life application of joy: “finding a way to be happy even when things don’t go your way.” Jesus wasn’t born just so he could hang out on Earth for a while. He came so that we can have life in the fullest way possible (John 10:10)! You can teach your kids that a true, full life means sharing that joy with others by following the calendar’s suggestions for spreading joy. You can do what it says every day, or just pick your favorite and do one each week.
Still want more?!
If you are looking for more content regarding advent, visit http://www.clayporr.com/advent-reflections/ where you will find daily and weekly devotionals that better fit older students and adults.