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Advent Celebration “How to” for Families

There are many ways to make Jesus the center of your Christmas celebration, but the following Advent Celebration is a way that has many benefits.

  • Each day the story of Jesus is read, sung, and talked about. It tells the whole story of God’s promise to send the Messiah, and His fulfillment of that promise. These Scriptures highlight the prophecies that speak of God sending the One who would redeem people from their sin, and reign forever.
  • The whole family can participate in it.
  • Scripture is the basis and focus and helps tell the whole story.
  • Props are simple and inexpensive.
  • Memories and training will last a lifetime.

The following info is a basic primer, so each family will add it’s on flavor and unique characteristics to it. Of course it will vary depending on the age of your children, or you are an empty-nester, etc. Have fun!

Here is what you will need: 

  • An advent wreath. Can be purchased at bookstore or simply made from fire-proof materials. Carol Ann found a star as a basis for ours. I’m sure it was on sale!
  • Four candles, three purple and one rose, and an additional white candle for Christmas Eve. They sell advent candles at bookstores, etc. But any candle will do.
  • A Bible for Scripture readings. For younger children, The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones would work great as additional reading for the younger children.

Beginning the celebration:  On the first Sunday of December, light the first purple candle, known as the prophecy candle. It symbolizes penance and longing as we wait for the birth of Jesus. With the lighting, talk about Jesus being the light of the world. Read the advent Scripture of the day. Conclude by singing and prayer. Have one child blow out the candle.

    • Light the same candle each day of the first week. On the second Sunday, light two purple candles, both of which are relit each night. The second candle is known as the Bethlehem candle.
    • The third week, light the two purple and then a rose candle. Rose is a sign of joy and hope that He is coming. It is called the Shepherd candle.
    • Light the last candle, known as the angel candle, on the fourth Sunday. All four candles are lit each night that week to symbolize the growing brightness of Jesus’ coming.
    • Advent activities for Christmas Eve:  Conclude the Advent season by lighting all four candles and placing an additional candle in the center in its holder. Have a birthday party for Jesus with cake, songs (including Happy Birthday), and gifts that will help a ministry, a lost person, etc. For younger children, you could do a nativity play and let the kids act it out with simple costumes. Have fun with it.

Suggested Scriptures and Schedule:

First week:                                                     Second Week:

Sun:      Isaiah 40:1-5                                       Isaiah 11:1-10

Mon:    Isaiah 52:7-10                                      Zechariah 6:12-13

Tues:    Isaiah 40:9-11                                     Micah 5:2-4

Wed:    Gen. 3:8-15                                          Malachi 3:1-6

Thu:      Gen. 15:1-6                                         John 1:1-8

Fri:       Deut. 18:15-19                                     John 1:9-18

Sat.      Ps. 89:1-4                                            Mark 1:1-3

Third Week:                                                   Fourth Week:

Sun:      Luke 1:5-13                                        Isaiah 7:10-14

Mon:    Luke 1:14-17                                       Luke 1:26-35

Tue:      Luke 1:18-25                                      Isaiah 9:2-7

Wed:    Luke 1:39-45                                       Matt. 1:18-25

Thu:      Luke 1:46-56                                      Luke 2:1-20

Fri:       Luke 1:57-66                                       Matt. 2:1-2

Sat:      Luke 1:67-80                                       Luke 2:21-35

This information originally appeared in Focus on the Family, 12/2000.

I will have some additional activity ideas to do with your children in next week’s blog.

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