We love celebrating Christmas with presents, Santa, and Elf on the Shelf. Those elements of Christmas are so much fun! My kids know the right answer to “what’s Christmas really about?” however, I’m not sure it’s really hitting home. We seem to have a bad case of the “gimmies” not just around Christmas but all the time. When my 5 year old was more concerned about what Santa would think of her behavior than Jesus, I knew we had a problem.
Advent is a great way to refocus in on the true reason for the season. I’ve always enjoyed doing an advent study myself, so I thought, “why not do a kid-friendly version?” It’s not dumbed down in any way, but it’s simple and accessible. Whether you have kids or not, you can use the same verses to observe your own advent this holiday season.
- 5 candles (I grabbed my mini pillar candles from the dollar store.)
- A tray, advent wreath or something to set your candles on.
- A Bible or use my Lock Screen scriptures (download below)
- Toy nativity set (optional)
Morning Advent Routine
This has become such a nice way to start our day! I hope I can continue to do some type of morning devotions, even after Christmas is over. Once we all wake up and get some of our grogginess out (mommy most of all), we gather at the dining room table.
We light the appropriate candle(s) and talk about what each candle means. We’ll light the same candle(s) each morning of that particular week.
- 12/1/19 – Prophet’s Candle: Hope; Isaiah 9:6
- 12/8/19 – Bethlehem Candle: Faith; Luke 1:45
- 12/15/19 – Shepherd’s Candle: Joy; Luke 2:10
- 12/22/19 – Angel Candle: Peace; Luke 2:14
- 12/24/19 – Christ Candle: Love; 1 John 4:10
I tell them what each candle is called and then we talk about the concept behind them. What is hope? An eager anticipation of something good. Why do we have hope at Christmas? We have hope because God sent his Son Jesus to earth as a tiny baby to save us.
After discussing the candle, we recite our Scripture verse. I say a line and let them repeat it after me. I like to include simple hand motions for each verse. It makes it more fun for the kids and helps them remember the words!
For unto us a child is born (cradle your arms like holding a baby)
Unto us a son is given (arms stretched out like handing someone a gift)
And the government will be upon his shoulder (hands on shoulders)
and his name shall be called (first two fingers on each hand, crossing – the ASL sign for “name”)
Wonderful Counselor (hands above head in praise, one at a time for each word)
Mighty God (make muscles)
Everlasting Father (hands out in front, palms up and sweeping to sides)
Prince of Peace (Hands in a crown on head)
Isaiah 9:6 (Point to eye, 9 fingers, then 6 fingers)
Download a PDF with my hand motions to all the Advent Scriptures below:
If you have a little extra time some days, you can get out your toy nativity. Let the kids act out the Christmas story, talk about the characters, make animal noises, do what kids do. Some of the Scriptures are in the form of a song somewhere. I’ll link a play list here inspired by our advent study.
At the end of our Advent time, we say a prayer for our day. Then we blow out the candle. I let the kids take turns each day blowing out the candle.
So far, it’s been a really good way to have conversation and remember why we celebrate Christmas at all. When I asked them this morning why we have hope at Christmas, they just talked about getting presents. We were able to open the conversation about why we really have eternal hope at Christmas.
It’s natural to like presents and toys, especially at a young age. But my goal is to help lay the foundation early for my children to understand what brings lasting joy. Things are just things. Everything we have is because of God’s goodness and grace. It’s a great reminder to every one, no matter what age.
Click on each photo to download and use as your phone lockscreen, or share on your instastory!