Can you believe Advent is just around the corner? November 27 to be exact.
Over the years, our family has celebrated Advent using a variety of resources, depending on our children's age and development. We have used Advent calendars, the kind with 25 little wooden doors. Inside each door I would hide a treat, a passage of Scripture to read, and an object that represented what we would do that day. (For example: the passage of Scripture might be Luke 2:32, "a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." The object would be a tree light bulb, and our activity was to drive around looking at Christmas lights). We have studied the names of Jesus, one for each day of Advent. We've also done a Jesse tree with a daily reading and corresponding ornaments. We've even done our own Advent wreath with daily readings and candle lightings.
We've also done fun things like make manger scenes out of graham crackers and marshmallows (it didn't turn out so pretty but it was yummy!) and visit a live nativity. Over the years, we've made a ton of ornaments, baked dozens of cookies, and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas more times than I can count.
As my kids get older, there are less crafts and Christmas storybooks. But it also means there are more opportunities to teach them about the wonder and significance of Immanuel, God with us.
Looking for Advent resources? We've used many different ones (some of which I've discovered are out of print). Here are a few of my favorites:
Little Hearts, Prepare Him Room: This is a new Advent devotional and one that can be used with young children as well as older children. It is intended to grow with your children over the years. It teaches key doctrines while going through the Christmas story. There are also ideas included on how to use it alongside an ornament swap with friends or with Jesse Tree ornaments.
Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional: This devotional is by Marty Machowski and includes daily Scriptures to read, activities, songs, and even a story that runs throughout the book. We used this one last year. My kids enjoyed the story and looked forward to each reading.
Jesus is Most Special: This is a picture book by Sally Michael. It's a great book for young children that explains the Christmas story.
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: This devotional, by Nancy Guthrie, is perfect for elementary through high school. It includes a devotional and discussion questions. She even discusses the meaning and history of a few Christmas carols.
Keeping Holiday: I am a big Starr Meade fan. All of her books are excellent. This one is different than her usual devotional/instructional format. Keeping Holiday is a fictional story, an allegory, that helps older children understand the incarnation.
Jotham's Journey: This is a fictional story about a boy named Jotham. It takes place at the birth of Christ and follows Jotham's journey to find his family. Along the way, he meets some of the characters in the Christmas story, including the Christ-child. There are readings for each day of Advent and is ideal for elementary age children. The author also has several other Advent stories as well. We've read this one and Tabitha's Travels.
Names of Jesus: This is a post I wrote last year on studying the names of Jesus during Advent.
Treasuring God in Our Traditions: This book, by Noel Piper, is a helpful resource that guides families in treasuring God in all our traditions, including Christmas, Easter, and other holidays/events throughout the year.
What traditions do you and your family have during Advent? Any favorite Advent books or resources?