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.
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
Sunday, December 11, marks the third week of advent. When you gather with your family this week, you will be lighting the pink candle: the “Shepherds” candle. If you didn’t make a wreath the first week, then just light a regular candle and read Luke 2:8-20 together. If you have access to an NIrV version, it is written at the third-grade reading level and is great for kids!
After reading, talk about the emotions the shepherds experienced during their encounter with the angels. See if your kids can name a few: surprise, fear, amazement, excitement, and so on! Being able to name our emotions is such an important skill for kids—and adults!—so use this as an opportunity to walk through the story and talk about the emotional rollercoaster the shepherds must have experienced. Ask your kids about times they have felt these emotions. Wrap up the conversation by looking at what the shepherds did at the end of the story; they wanted to tell everybody about Jesus. They wanted to rush off and meet Jesus right away because of what the angels said in verse 10: “I bring you good news. It will bring great joy for all people.” The shepherds knew that Jesus would bring great joy for everybody, and that’s why they went and told everybody about Him.
Take this a step further by giving your kids some markers and paper plates. Have them draw emojis for the different emotions and then read the story a second time while your kids hold up the different faces they made. At the end, ask you kids if there is someone they want to bring joy to this Christmas, just like the shepherds did with their message of Jesus’ birth. Take a look at the advent calendar in the “Advent by Day” section to get some ideas for how you can do so as a family!
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.