Ideas for Celebrating Advent as a Family
1. A devotional or Bible reading plan that focuses on the topic of preparing for Christ. There are many different plans available, but here are some of them:
- The Christmas star from afar set would be great for families with younger children. “(It) encourages children to go on a hunt for their Star, similar to that of the Wise Men. Everyday the Star is hidden and the children participate in a fun hide-and-seek game to locate it. Once they have found their Star they move all Three Wise Men to its location. On Christmas morning the Three Wise Men reach their final destination when the Star is found at the stable with the newborn baby Jesus. The activity book includes a wooden Star, a full wooden nativity scene that matches the artwork of the book, and optional scripture to use throughout the month.” (Source)
- This free devotional is based on readings from the Jesus Storybook Bible and is accompanied by a separate devotional for moms.
- Another free devotional, from Billy Graham, would be more suited to families with older children.
2. Make an advent wreath
- “The Advent wreath first appeared in Germany in 1839. A Lutheran minister working at a mission for children created a wreath out of the wheel of a cart. He placed twenty small red candles and four large white candles inside the ring. The red candles were lit on weekdays and the four white candles were lit on Sundays. Eventually, the Advent wreath was created out of evergreens, symbolizing everlasting life in the midst of winter and death as the evergreen is continuously green. The circle reminds us of God’s unending love and the eternal life He makes possible. Advent candles are often nestled in the evergreen wreath... Families begin lighting a candle on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and they light another candle each subsequent Sunday.”
- Here is a free guide for using your advent wreath
“even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
- What could be a more powerful tool to teach our children about Christ’s purpose in coming than to reflect his character by serving in our communities?
- Here are a few ideas of service projects for families:
- Serve a meal at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter
- Visit a nursing home to sing carols with the residents or simply to spend time with them
- Donate canned goods or other supplies to a food bank or ministry that fights hunger. If you are ambitious, help organize a canned food drive in your church or neighborhood.
- The Giving Manger is a unique way for your family to acknowledge and celebrate acts of kindness and service projects leading up to Christmas.
4. Sing Christmas hymns and discuss how the lyrics of the hymns connect with the gospel story
Many Christmas hymns are full of rich theology and remind us of the joy of the gospel, which sweetly lingers over us during this time of year. Some of our favorites are:
- Hark! The Harold Angels Sing
- Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
- In the Bleak Midwinter
- Joy to the World
- Come, O Come, Emmanuel
While these are all wonderful ways to acknowledge and celebrate this season, the importance of taking the time to personally reflect upon and point your family to the good news of Christ cannot be overstated. What are you doing to prepare your heart and the hearts of your family in the days leading up to Christmas? If you would like to know more about how Emmanuel Lutheran School helps students focus on Advent and Jesus during the Christmas Season, contact us.