Today marks the first Sunday of Advent.
I remember as a child having an Advent wreath at home. We’d light the candle(s) each week to mark the time leading up to Christmas.
It’s a tradition I want my kids to know and love.
Last year, I finally bought a small brass Advent wreath/candle holder for us. I had tried for years off and on to make wreathes. But with three small kids, I wanted something that was sturdy and safe. Our small wreath is perfect!
Typically, we gather after dinner and read an appropriate Scripture or Bible passage for the corresponding Sunday. We don’t get too technical or too content-heavy. We use our Nativity scene pieces to explain the Sunday (shepherds, angels, and so on). I’ve noticed my kids really learn and relate when they can see, touch, and/or hold a small object. Chris plays guitar and we always sing two or three Christmas carols.
If you want to observe Advent with your kids this year, doing something simple is perfect.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1. Four candles either in a wreath or even four small votives in separate holders will do. If you do want a wreath, buy it now at a Christian bookstore or order online. You can find one for about $20. Several years, I said I’d wait until after Christmas to buy one on sale. They never put them on sale. So, buy it now! Candle colors are usually three purple or blue and one pink. A fifth candle may be added in the center on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (last year we used a small red candle in a jar) to symbolize Christ.
2. Bible and/or a Children’s Bible. We love, love, love The Jesus Storybook Bible.
3. Music. A musician in the family is wonderful or even some CDs featuring beautiful Christmas music is nice.
Sample order of a Family Advent worship time:
- Light the candle(s). We allow our kids to do this (when age-appropriate).
- Sing a song.
- Read the Bible verse/Bible story.
- Ask the kids questions to engage them in the learning.
- Sing a song.
- Take prayer requests.
- Close in prayer.
A very basic suggested schedule of Advent readings:
First Sunday: the prophets
Candle of Hope
read Micah 5:2 and light the first purple candle
Second Sunday: the angels
Candle of Peace
read Luke 2:8-13 and light the first and second purple candles
Third Sunday: the shepherds
Candle of Joy
read Luke 2:14-17 and light the first and second purple candles and the pink candle
Fourth Sunday: the magi
Candle of Love
read Matthew 2:1-12 and light all the candles
Christmas Eve or Day
the Christ Candle
read John 1:1-5 and light all the candles including the Christ candle
You may find all sorts of variations of this outline online. In fact, I’ll admit that our family’s schedule is an amalgam of things we’ve read and things we believe will stick with our kids. Tailor your Advent Worship time to your own family.
And a final word: Don’t fret if you haven’t “started yet.” You aren’t late! Just pick up with the appropriate Sunday. We usually do a “little something” about the Advent lesson on most nights of the week during a family worship time. We light the candle(s) every night because the kids love it.
If you’ve wanted to start a Family Worship time or you’ve wanted to re-energize the time you’ve observed in the past, Advent is a great season to bring the family together and focus on Christ.
I’d love to hear more about your Advent and Christmas traditions!