6 Ideas for Celebrating Advent as a Family
Advent is the perfect time to focus on Jesus, the "reason for the season."
Parents plan for it. Churches celebrate it. Stores open their doors early for it. Children long all year for it for it.
December 25, the most anticipated day of the year.
The Historical Expectation and Anticipation of ChristmasHistorically, believers in God are marked with expectation and anticipation.
- Abraham and Sarah waited for God to fulfill His promise to give them a son.
- David longed for a temple for Jehovah in Jerusalem.
- The magi followed a star, expecting the celestial sign to take them to the King of the Jews.
Advent: The Coming of ChristFor Christians, Advent specifically signifies the four weeks leading up to Christmas day.
W. T. Ellis said, "It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."
The Advent season can be a great time for families to celebrate "the reason for the season"—Jesus Christ. Look here for ways to create opportunities for your family to focus on Jesus amid all the holiday rush. Here are five ways to help your family celebrate Advent.
1. Read Advent Devotions as a FamilyEnjoy a weekly family devotion during December based on a character from the Christmas story. Each week, read the Bible passages about that person and discuss the story.
See what lessons you and your family can learn about being a modern-day disciple of Jesus Christ from these Christmas characters. Find a Christmas song or carol that goes along with the character you are focusing on and introduce it to your family.
2. Creat an Advent Jesse TreeThis ancient tradition, based on Isaiah 11:1, helps children learn the Christmas story and related Scripture.
Start with either a small live or artificial tree. If you prefer, cut a tree out of construction paper and tape it to a wall. Select 24 Bible stories and create small ornaments that correspond with each story. Use construction paper, scissors, markers and other art supplies.
Beginning December 1, read and discuss the related Scripture, discuss the Bible account, and then place the ornament on the tree.
3. Make a Prayer GarlandCut out 24 green and red construction paper strips. On each strip, write the name of a family member, friend or ministry. Staple the strips as links into one long garland. Hang the garland in your apartment or house as a decoration.
Every day in December, have a family member remove one of the paper strips. As a family, pray for the person or ministry whose name is on that strip of paper.
4. Build (or Buy) an Advent BoxSeveral years ago, I purchased a wooden box, painted with beautiful nutcrackers all over the front. The box has 24 small doors, each opening to a hiding place. During the first week of Advent, I place small toys, candies and inexpensive gifts behind each door.
I divide the first 24 days of December by my three children and assign each child eight days of the month. Each morning, one child opens the door with the current date and finds the surprise. My children enjoy the fun and anticipate the surprise.
Create a similar type of box, or use small paper bags decorated on the outside with a surprise gift placed inside. No two Advent boxes are the same, so use your imagination when creating yours.
5. Use Christmas Cards as Prayer RemindersAs Christmas cards arrive during December, place them in a basket in a noticeable area. Once a day, pull out one card and pray for that person or family together. Keep the Christmas card basket out all year and pray regularly for other families.
You may want to write the person a note signed by your family that says, "We prayed for you today."
6. Create (or Buy) Your Own Advent Wreath with CandlesAn Advent wreath is helpful and beautifully symbolic of the season. A basic Advent wreath consists of a circle with four candle holders with one candle in the middle. It may be garnished with holly or pine boughs.
The Advent wreath can serve as a perfect teaching moment too. Point out the colors to your children, and talk about what they mean. To learn more about the wreath, check out numbers 1-3 on this article.
Article courtesy of HomeLife magazine.