A couple of years into our marriage, my husband and I decided we needed to make reflecting on Christ’s advent together a priority. For the last several years, we have chosen a book, study, or readings to do as a family each night, usually around the dinner table. It has helped us immensely, not only to unify our hearts in our celebration of Christ’s birth but also to keep our minds and hearts tethered to what truly matters at Christmas and the rest of the year, too. Since becoming parents, we have sought and found Advent resources that also include our daughter in this practice and have enriched her understanding of the Gospel and what Christmas is all about. Here are some of our family’s favorite resources for Advent readings and study.
For Little Ones & Children
Jesus Storybook Bible: A Christmas Collection
Many parents and teachers will be familiar with The Jesus Storybook Bible. Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, it has been a great resource for many years for children to learn about God, the Gospel, and how Christ is the center of it all. Geared toward ages 2-6, it recounts 21 stories from the Old Testament and 23 stories from the New Testament along with vivid illustrations to help children see and understand the Scriptures.
Two years ago, The Jesus Storybook Bible: A Christmas Collection was released as a supplement to its earlier work. This book is intended to be used as a companion piece and is a great option for Advent if you already own and use the Storybook Bible. Each day of Advent directs you to read a selection from the Storybook Bible along with Scripture to read and questions to ponder. One of the beauties of this collection is that it allows parents to engage their children in simple yet meaningful conversations at whatever level they are currently. Furthermore, the book has interactive features which includes classic Christmas carols and activity pages to reinforce lessons, principles, and concepts.
Additionally, Sally Lloyd-Jones has provided a FREE downloadable Advent guide that includes printable artwork and activities, memory cards, a reading plan, and more.
This is a great resource for introducing young children to Advent and why we really celebrate Christmas!
Advent Candles and Jesus Has Come Advent Candle Cards (The Daily Grace Co.)
This one is a great option for those looking to start the tradition of observing Advent as a family. It is simple but can be very impactful for young hearts and minds, as well as us older ones, too! Last year my husband and I decided to implement this tradition into our family and it was such a blessing.
Like many of our Christmas traditions, the Advent candles find their origin in Germany. According to accounts, a German minister named Johann Hinrich Wichern began the practice in 1839 as a way to help the children in his mission school count down the days leading up to Christmas. Small candles were lit on weekdays and large white candles were lit each Sunday in December. As German immigrants brought the practice to America it has varied and evolved over the years.
The word Advent is Latin for “arrival” or “coming,” and the practice of lighting the candles helps us to consider Christ and why He came as well as provide a powerful symbol of His character and the precious gift of His incarnation.
While there are Advent wreaths and candle sets that you can purchase, you can also make a simple one of your own. Here are a couple of pictures of our family from last Christmas lighting the candles.
I bought four small white pillar candles and one large central pillar to be our Christ candle. I placed them on a wooden charger and added some greenery for decoration. It was very simple, inexpensive, and effective!
For Teens & Adults
Being purposeful in our reflection of Christ at Christmas is not just for kids; it is for everyone! As we get older, it is so easy to rush through the season without pausing to be truly amazed and grateful for what Christmas really means. These devotionals can help you stay grounded in Christ and grow in your awe for the gift of Christ this year!
Christmas isn’t just about presents, parties, decorations, or fun music. We know this. But somehow it is so easy to forget this in practice. Our minds know the wonderful truth of the Christ-child, but our day-to-day busyness doesn’t often lend to quiet and intentional reflection on the magnitude of Christ’s birth, life, and death. This year, I encourage you to carve out time to do this. Do it for yourself and do it for your family. Give yourself and your children the gift of experiencing a Christmas far more magical than those simply filled with the things the world counts as festive. Make time to see and savor Christ this Christmas and experience Advent with true joy, awe, and wonder.
How are you seeing and savoring Christ through your gift giving this Christmas?
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