One of the goals of Gracekids is to capitalize on the natural wonder of childhood, and few seasons are as opportune as Advent. Amid twinkling lights and jingling carols, what better way to bring scripture to life than to capture a child’s senses with the wonder of the very first Christmas? This holiday season, check out five simple ideas for dialing up the wonder of Advent.
Take a Hike
Go for a long walk. Map the course ahead of time, so you can tell your kids how it would have compared to Mary and Joseph’s 90 mile trek to Bethlehem. (For instance, if you walk two miles, tell them Mary and Joseph would have done this 45 times!). Carry backpacks filled with water bottles both for your hydration and to imagine the load they carried. Explain that their journey through the Judean desert would have been hilly and rainy, and it probably would have taken ten days because Mary was pregnant. It would be the middle of winter, so it would be cold with the constant threat of lions, bears, boars, and robbers. Wonder at the faith and faithfulness of Mary and Joseph.
Spread blankets outside and look at the night sky. Tell your children the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20. Remind them that shepherds were considered unimportant. They weren’t “special” like kings and queens; they were ordinary and unpopular. Yet God chose to reveal Himself to them. Imagine how you would feel if angels suddenly appeared in the sky. Wonder at the goodness and glory of God.
Pass the Popcorn
Watch a live-action rendition of the birth of Christ, such as The Nativity Story, with older children. Be ready to press pause and answer questions about Pontius Pilate and peer pressure, arranged marriage, John the Baptist, and more. Wonder at the reality of the very first Christmas.
Search for Treasure
Fill a box or “treasure chest” with three things: gold paper (or play coins), tree bark, and perfume. Hide it and play a game of “hotter or colder” to find it. Explain that these treasures represent the gifts of the magi: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold was an expensive gift for royalty. By giving it to Jesus, the magi were acknowledging that He is King. Discuss the significance of the Kingship of Jesus in our lives. Frankincense was made from a special type of tree bark and was most commonly used by priests to burn as incense for worship. Explain that Jesus is the greatest Priest of all because He sacrificed His own life to save us. Finally, myrrh is a type of perfume, and long ago, it was often used for burial. Talk about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Wonder at the gospel.
Pick Up a Gracekids Advent Calendar
Pick up a free Advent Calendar at your Grace campus. Each calendar comes with a sheet of stickers. Visit discovergrace.com/familyadvent, or scan the QR code at the top of the calendar to access daily family devotions. Once you’ve completed a devotional, place a sticker over the corresponding date to mark the countdown to Christmas! This is meant to be a fun and helpful tool, so feel free to use it in whatever way you see fit. You may focus solely on a few devotionals or simply use the calendar as a visual reminder in your home. Do what works best for your family.
Have a student at Grace? Pick up a free color changing cup and Christmas sticker set. Visit discovergrace.com/familyadvent or scan the QR code on the sticker to access daily devotions for teens. We’d love to see how you’re using this calendar and/or cup! Tag us on Instagram (@discovergrace) or Facebook (@discovergraceFL).
Looking for a place to celebrate Advent? We’d love to meet you! Join us for a 4-week Advent series at Grace, called Comfort and Joy: Good Tidings for Hard Times.