Growing up I never really knew what advent was all about. I remembered pink and purple candles, which seemed like the wrong colors for Christmas, and that was about it. As an adult I have learned more about why we celebrate Advent and what it really is. As a parent I am determined to bring the Advent season into our home.
Here are some resources I have found and I thought I would share with you as you enter this season of Advent. If you find them helpful, perhaps you too can build some family traditions.
If you have younger children consider making a paper chain. Who doesn’t love a paper chain. I used one when my son was younger that I made myself, but the wonders of the internet, I found one already made. They even arranged it so you can use different colored paper and have it alternate.
Here is a similar idea…
For older kids or families with a wider age range, here are two books I have personally used.
The book by Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift is extremely beautiful, the artwork is stunning and the readings are beautiful and our family really enjoyed the discussion. The readings are a little long and delve a little deeper than some so I don’t recommend this for younger children. There are also ornaments you can purchase to use with the book, they make a fun activity.
I really like the book by Barbara Reaoch. It is engaging, and simple. The format is the same all the way through the book. Read a passage of scripture, read a short devotional, sing a familiar Christmas Hymn (words included). It is easily doable while your kids are shoveling cereal in their mouths in the morning (don’t sing with your mouthful), or before you fall asleep while you are tucking them in at night.
Riverside offers a family friendly advent devotional. We have one from a few years back that we read at the dinner table, while we light the candles. Grab one and stick it in a bible and set it on your dining room table. Read it at dinner or breakfast or dinner one day and breakfast another. Also I highly recommend getting a wreath with candles. Lighting the candles is fun, and your kids can bicker over who gets to blow them out (hint… make it a reward for answering your questions!).
Teaching your children about advent doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t require a lot of time or a bunch of things to add to your to do list. It’s just about creating space to talk about what Christmas means, and why we anticipate the coming of the Messiah. Don’t try to do all of these. Just pick one, or find something else that works for you.