Advent is a beautiful gift of the liturgical calendar. In the midst of our busy lives, it is a season of time devoted to helping us slow down, talk and listen, and prepare ourselves for the birth of Christ. I created “A Family Advent” to equip families with devotionals and hands-on activities to celebrate the season at home.
The kit reflects upon the traditional themes of the season: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. It combines weekly family devotional with a Scripture reading, lesson, music and reflection questions with (nearly) all the materials needed to do an activity together. My hope is that “A Family Advent” may help families carve out a special time each week of Advent to spend time in reflection and preparation for the many gifts God has given to us through the birth of Jesus Christ.
Advent 1: Hope – “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” performed by BYU Vocal Point
Advent 2: Peace – “Child of Peace” performed by Sandi Patty
Advent 3: Joy – “Sing Joy” performed by Peter Meyer
Advent 4: Love – “They Will Know We are Christians” performed by Jars of Clay
Peace of Christ,
Rev. Danyelle Ditmer
Epworth United Methodist Church, Indianapolis
A Family Advent, Letter Size Pages
A Family Advent, Book Print
A Family Advent, Instructions & Materials
A Family Advent, Printable Tags
Day: Advent 1A
Lectionary Passage: Isaiah 2:1-5
Scripture Focus: Isaiah 2:4
Good morning everyone! I am so glad to see you. Last night I had a really amazing dream that I could fly. Have you ever dreamed you could fly? (allow children to raise their hands) Oh, and one time I dreamed that I could breathe under water and swim with the dolphins! And another time… (continue with one or two more examples, perhaps things relevant to your region or sports team, to create a sense that in dreams anything is possible).
Dreams are amazing! I wish we had the power to make those dreams come true. That reminds me of a story from the Old Testament. It’s from a book called Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet. Prophets were hand picked by God to teach others all about God’s ways. In our story for today, Isaiah tells about God’s dream for the world. God dreams that one day there will be peace on earth, people will no longer fight, and everyone everywhere will worship God. That’s an amazing dream! As amazing as being able to fly!
But you know what is even more amazing? God has the power to make that happen! God is working every second to make the world a better place, to bring peace to all places. And the biggest thing God did was send Jesus Christ who teaches us all about love, peace, joy, and hope. God has the power through Jesus Christ to make the dream of a peaceful world full of love and joy come true! I think that’s pretty awesome.
Let’s pray: Holy God, we give you thanks that you dreamed big and are working to make your dream of a peaceful and loving world come true. Help us follow your ways and do whatever we can to help. Amen.
Day: Advent 2B
Lectionary Passage: 2 Peter 3:8-15
Scripture Focus: 2 Peter 3:14
Object: Bowl of water, tablespoon of black pepper, and liquid dish soap
Preparation: For this lesson you will conduct a simple science experiment the power of soap. Fill a large, clear bowl with water. Prepare the black pepper and liquid dish soap.
Good morning! Today we are going to conduct a science experiment to learn about the power of being clean. I brought a bowl of water with me and we’re going to add some pepper (sprinkle black pepper onto the water). The pepper is everywhere. Now, watch what happens when I add just a squirt of soap (add a drop of liquid dish soap to the middle of the bowl of water). Whoa! The pepper instantly scurries away from the soap! Now wherever the soap hit, the water is clean and spotless!
That reminds me of our Bible passage. It talks about being spotless and pure, which is kind of like saying we need to be clean. Of course, the Bible isn’t talking about being spotless on the outside. It’s talking about being spotless on the inside. That means we can’t use soap to help us. We’ve got to use something much, much stronger…. we need to pray! Prayer makes spots caused from sin scurry away. Sin is that bad stuff that we do from time to time, like not listening to our parents, or lying, or being mean to others. Just like that black pepper covered the water, sin can cover everything. But when we pray to God to say we are sorry for sin, then we are made clean and spotless. Prayer is soap for our souls to keep us spotless and pure.
Let’s pray: Thank you God for giving us the power to pray because we want to be spotless and pure every day. Amen.
Day: Advent 1B
Lectionary Passage: Mark 13:24-37
Scripture Focus: Mark 13:35-37
Object: Advent calendar
Preparation: Provide a printable Advent calendar for each child to color and assemble throughout the season.
Good morning! I brought a very special calendar with me this morning. It’s not a typical calendar with 365 days. It only has 28 days. It is called an Advent calendar. An Advent calendar is a special calendar that is used to celebrate the days of Advent as we wait for Christmas Day.
While we are waiting for Christmas, we should also remember that we are waiting for Jesus’ return. That’s what our Bible story is all about. It tells us that Jesus is coming back to earth one day and we have to stay alert and be ready for his return. We don’t know when that will be, but we can be ready by giving our hearts to God and following Jesus’ teaching of how to live. So as you are waiting for Christmas and getting ready for all the fun, remember to stay alert and be ready for Jesus’ second coming.
Let’s pray: Thank you God for sending Jesus to be born on Christmas Day. We are excited to celebrate his birth on Christmas but also to get ready for his return one day in the future. Amen.