When I search the internet or check out Pinterest and see ideas for celebrating Advent, they often involve a “minifigure set” creating a holiday scene or cute craft activities for the month of December.
And certainly, those are all fun things that can add to the joy of the season! But truly, Advent is more than just the 24 days before Christmas!
For hundreds of years, beginning four Sundays before Christmas and through Christmas Eve, Christians have celebrated Advent as a way to prepare our hearts for the coming (advent) of Jesus Christ as a baby! It is a time of reflection on His first arrival in a manger and also a time to anticipate His second coming! This year, Advent begins on December 2!
Want to celebrate the Advent season in a more traditional way? I’m sharing four ways to dive into its true meaning with your kids!
Five Ways to Celebrate Advent as a Family to Keep the Season Simple and Faithful
Find an Advent Devotional that Really Talks about Advent
A traditional Advent devotional will talk about Scripture passages from the Old Testament as well as the New Testament that foretell the coming of Christ through prophecy leading up to His birth in Bethlehem in some way, shape or form.
It may also use the liturgical Advent dates, as opposed to just December 1-25. However, as long as it talks about the real meaning of Advent, any devotional is a great choice for your family!
A few free Advent family devotions that walk you through the entire season of Advent are found here:
Advent Family Devotions (4 Weekly Devotions) for Kids 3-10
Jesse Tree Advent Devotionals – These are from a couple of years ago, so the dates are different but they do have daily readings for the liturgical days of Advent!
Advent Calendar (Printable Banner) with Daily Advent Bible Verses
Truth in the Tinsel is also one of our favorite Bible based family resource with 24 ornaments that you can make and a devotional for each day. It is a paid product. This does start December 1, but also highlights much of the prophecy surrounding Jesus birth, as well as the characters that are a part of the Advent and Christmas story.
BRAND NEW THIS YEAR!
I just released a new Advent Bible study for families called Comfort and Joy! It’s a 28 day Christ-focused experience that will lead your family through the prophecies about Jesus and up to Jesus’ birth using an Advent wreath, daily devotionals, service projects and activities to help you make memories and nurture a strong faith in your kids!
This study is designed for busy families who want to center their hearts on the true reason for the season, but don’t have a lot of extra time to be doing extra activities! Whether you have just one child or children of multiple ages, this study is for you!
It’s on sale right now for $9 (50% off!!).
Click over to our shop to find out more about Comfort and Joy: An Advent Study for Families!
Read an Advent Book
All four of our kids love to read, and reading aloud is a way that we connect as a family at the end of a busy day.
There are several books that helps your kids understand the Advent story and how it personally relates to us even today!
Jotham’s Journey, by Arnold Ytreeide, which we read for the first time last year, follows the story of a ten-year-old boy named Jotham as he searches for his family, encountering wise men, shepherds, and other key people in the Christmas story before he finally finds the Savior when he arrives in Bethlehem.
This book is a chapter book, so it might seem a little drawn out for younger children, but my older three (who were 6, 9 and 11 last year) really enjoyed this story. We will be reading one of the companion books, Tabitha’s Travels, at bedtime during Advent this year! There are questions and discussion ideas included as well.
Jotham’s Journey is actually one of a series of four books, each from a different perspective! Check them all out here.
Advent Books for Little Ones
For younger children, check out Song of the Stars, which builds the anticipation to Jesus’ birth throughout the story! Other great Advent and Christmas stories for young children include The Crippled Lamb, Room for a Little One, and Tonight You Are My Baby (which always makes me cry!).
Talk About the History of Advent and Make an Advent Wreath
To truly understand the “why” behind celebrating Advent (and why it goes beyond December), take a few minutes to read about the history of Advent with your family!
Here is a helpful graphic I created that can help you understand what the candles of the Advent wreath mean and how they are used. Many Christian bookstores sell pre-made Advent wreaths with candles. If you don’t want to use candles around very young children, you can make a paper version of the Advent wreath!
Dayspring has some beautiful Advent wreaths that you can choose for a family heirloom!
I also love these “stained glass” Advent candle window decorations—we will be making these with our kids (ages 3, 5, 8 and 10) this year!
You can download a free Advent calendar banner with Bible verses about Advent and read one each day! These verses correspond with the Advent candles and their meaning.
Listen to Christmas Music and Try to Quiet Your Heart
The Advent season goes by very quickly, and usually is full of a lot of activity! This year, we have two Christmas programs, a church pageant, two school Christmas parties, four church events and several family gatherings–all to fit in during the month of December! I’m sure you can relate.
Is there even an opportunity, then, to really quiet our hearts before God and meditate on the Advent message?
One thing I have done for myself in the past that’s been effective is to set aside two evenings during the month of December to put the kids to bed early (they’re really tired from all the running around anyway!), light some candles and turn on the Christmas tree and then drink some tea or hot chocolate while listening to holiday carols. We use Pandora or Amazon Music to do so, as well as some CDs (I’m sure I sound like an old person, still listening to CDs–ha!!). My husband and I just sit on the couch–with NO television or other media devices in our laps.
If I want to help my kids just calm down at the end of a busy day, I will play Christmas music on the piano and we’ll sing together. This is something I always did with my grandparents and cousins growing up and want to continue the tradition with our family.
During the rush, we really do have to be intentional about carving out quiet moments–but it’s so worth it!
Share the Message of Jesus Christ’s First and Second Coming in your Community
Romans 10:15 says, “And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Christmastime is a natural time of year to share the gospel with others in your community. Especially during tumultuous times, the gospel of peace through Christ is sweet to the soul. This sharing can happen through activities at church, community service opportunities and music heard even on secular stations that invites conversation about Jesus’ coming as a baby.
Opportunities that may not come as easily during other times of the year to share about Jesus find their place in the Advent season, which is one of the things I love about it!
Our kids have enjoyed bringing gifts to families staying at a local mission, packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child, inviting friends to their Christmas program at church and ringing the bell with the Salvation Army.
We’ve also written notes to loved ones who are lonely and sent them drawings of Christmas scenes, reminding them that God loves them and we do too! We hope to be even more intentional as our children get older!
With young children it can be hard to make time for these things or even figure out what they are capable of, which I completely understand! I’d encourage you to pick even just ONE thing that you can do as a family to show (and share!) the love of Jesus during Advent and Christmas.
When we celebrate Advent with our families, we are reminded once again of the necessity of Jesus’ coming, to save us from our sinful nature and be the perfect One we could not be, restoring us to God.
Would you like to celebrate Advent with your family in a meaningful way, and point your children to Christ, even if you don’t have a lot of extra time each day during this busy season?
I’m so excited to introduce Comfort and Joy: An Advent Study for Families! It is a BRAND NEW resource I created with busy families in mind.
Comfort and Joy: An Advent Study for Families is a 28 day Christ-focused experience designed for busy families that want to make memories even during this crazy season of the year!
- To connect the truths of Jesus’ birth with our lives today, showing our kids that Scripture is always relevant, useful and life-changing.
- To help our kids personalize the story of Jesus’ birth.
- To help us understand why Advent can prepare our hearts for Christmas and that it’s more than just a “countdown to December 25th”.
- To give your family opportunities make memories and create traditions.
- To provide a rich Advent celebration, even on the busiest days!
- To be flexible, so you can do different activities each year!
4 Weeks of the Study: Each week of the study corresponds to the different “themes” of Advent candles in the Advent wreath: Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherds and Angels.
There are daily Advent verses to read with your family, as well as a devotional, reflection and/or activity for each of 28 days. You’ll also be singing Advent/Christmas carols together!
Printable resources: Gift tags, Christmas cards, Jesse Tree Ornaments, Coloring pages, Advent calendar banner
Recommended Ages: 3-12. But honestly, families with kids who are older too can enjoy this study!
Types of Activities Included:
- DIY Ornaments (variations for older and younger children)
- Weekly “Prepare for Christmas” idea for your home
- Recipes that correspond with the weekly theme
- Weekly simple service project idea to help your family share the love of Jesus
- Family connection ideas so you can make memories in this busy time of year!
- Crafts that encourage creativity (without being complicated!)
If you want to cut through the busyness, capture the joy of the Advent season with your family, point your kids to Jesus and have fun at the same time, Comfort and Joy: An Advent Study for Families was made for you!
See inside Comfort and Joy and download your copy today from our online shop! It’s 50% off for a limited time! Click HERE or the photo above to learn more!
Have a joyous Advent and Christmas season!
Free Printable Advent Calendar Banner!