As a Christ following parent, I am always praying that God will help me recognize opportunities and provide me with resources to help disciple my children towards a firm faith in Jesus. The Church Calendar is a great resource through history that helps us slow down and focus on those things that help us grow in Christ. In the Church Calendar, the Christmas season is called Advent. Advent means “arrival” or “coming”. We take the month of December to slow down and spend time remembering the birth (arrival) of Jesus, and we also anticipate the second coming (arrival) of Jesus.
The primary focus of Advent is to spend time in the Old Testament where the prophets foretold the birth of Jesus, as well as spending time meditating on events of His birth in the New Testament. The more familiar we can make these stories for our children, the more they will treasure them and make them the foundation of their lives. Creating the tradition of re-reading these world changing events every year can firmly shape their future faith.
One way to read these Bible stories is to utilize an Advent Wreath with five candles representing different promises we have because Jesus was born. The evergreen of the wreath symbolizes everlasting life in the midst of the dead of winter. The candles represent light in the darkness shining brightly! The first candle lit is the candle of hope. The second candle represents peace. The third candle symbolizes joy. The fourth candle represents love. The fifth candle represents Christ. Light a different candle each Sunday in December, culminating with the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Day. Read Old Testament and New Testament scriptures each Sunday foretelling or describing the birth of Jesus. I’ve included a link to gives some options for Advent readings.
Another way to use Advent to focus on the story of Jesus is to create an Advent calendar. This will help you spend time daily reading verses about the birth of Jesus. There are many examples of activities that you and your children can do along with the reading of Scripture relating to the birth of Jesus. Use the Advent Calendar to not only daily read about Jesus’ birth through the month of December, but also serve those less fortunate. Jesus came to a people who could not help themselves and God calls His children to represent Him by loving them through acts of mercy.
There are many great books that count down to Christmas. They are a helpful resource in providing scriptures to read with pictures and activities.
I encourage you to start preparing now to utilize this Christmas season as a discipleship opportunity for you and your family. Pray that God will help you to put aside distractions and the consumerism of Christmas and focus solely on Jesus Christ and those less fortunate. What a joy the Christmas season will be for you and your whole family.
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp; The Jesus Storybook Bible-A Christmas Collection (stories, songs, reflections for the Advent season).
Advent wreath readings: