Last year was the first time that I had ever celebrated Advent at a church, and I loved it. To enter into a tradition of looking forward to the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth at Christmas even while anticipating His Second Coming helped me keep Christ central to Christmas. This will be the first year that my family is celebrating Advent at home as well.
As Christian parents, we all want to keep Christ at the center of our families’ Christmas celebrations both inside and outside of church. Advent is one way to do that. Maybe you have been wanting to start Family Devotions…what a wonderful way to get in the habit of regularly talking about God’s Word as a family!
Here are several ideas and free resources for you to use in your own families’ Advent celebration. Joy to the world–and joy to your family this Christmas season!
- There are Advent wreaths available at Christian book stores, but there are simple instructions and ideas at the beginning of the Focus on the Family booklet below. Don’t let having or not having an Advent Wreath stop you from celebrating Advent at home! While I anticipate it adding to the fact that this is a special season, you can still do Advent readings together without an Advent Wreath at home.
- I encourage you to pick it right up again if you miss a night–or several nights because of the busy holiday season. The general consistency of looking to Jesus in a special way together as Christmas approaches is what will impact your family!
- The Jesus Storybook Bible is what we will use with our family this year. As this blog points out, “…there are twenty-one stories it in from the Old Testament—each ending with a paragraph that ties in to the imminent birth of Jesus—and then three stories from the New Testament leading up to (and surrounding) the birth story of Jesus.” Celebrating Advent at home will be as simple–and meaningful–as lighting the wreath, reading the story for that night, and one of us praying. There is a free PDF from the same blog that lays the readings out from December 1st to Christmas Eve! Our church will be using the Jesus Storybook Bible curriculum for Children’s Church after Advent, so using it at home during Advent will be another way to further connect church and home.
- Focus on the Family produced an excellent, free Advent booklet last year, “Knowing Him By Name,” that focuses on the names of Christ throughout the Bible. It is written for school age children and parents to do together, with a short reading each day and an activity.
- Nancy Guthrie has written an Advent devotional book, “Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room,” that is designed for the entire family–from school age children to teenagers to parents. [HT: Mike Pohlman]
- If you have teenagers in your home–or would read an Advent devotional yourself, I encourage you to consider John Piper’s “Good News of Great Joy,” free from Desiring God.