Sitting in the worship service of a university-town church as a college student, I observed an Advent celebration for the first time. I was wondering what I had gotten myself into! Since that time, I have served in churches that either ignored the Advent season or celebrated it. And, either approach is acceptable.
Some churches choose to celebrate Advent overtly and ceremoniously, while others subtly mention Advent from the stage or in the worship bulletin. Some churches provide customized Advent guides for families to use at home.
Regardless of how your church chooses to publicly celebrate Advent, you may want to observe this occasion in your kids ministry. However, before doing anything related to Advent, talk with your pastor about your plans and make sure there are no doctrinal or church tradition issues that would prevent you from leading kids to observe Advent. Here are four simple ideas to use with kids at church:
- Talk to the kids about what the word “advent” means and why Christians celebrate Advent.
- Set up an Advent wreath and candles in your classroom or large group room. Each week, enlist a child to light a candle. (If you’re concerned about a fire hazard, use electric candles.) Enlist other kids to read aloud Scriptures that relate to that particular Sunday of Advent. Lead kids to pray, thanking God for His redemptive plan.
- Lead the kids to sing a different song each week that relates to that Sunday of Advent. If older kids and preteens are too cool to sing, listen to a recording of the song.
- Help children create an Advent guide to use at home personally or with their family. Here is a suggested outline:
- Weekend of November 27—Theme, Hope (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2)
- Weekend of December 4—Theme, Love (John 3:16)
- Weekend of December 11—Theme, Joy (Luke 2:8-11)
- Weekend of December 18—Theme, Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
- Weekend of December 25—Theme, Jesus (Luke 2:1-7)
Whatever you choose to do to celebrate Advent with kids at church, always, always, always point children to God’s plan to rescue, redeem, and restore us. After all that is why we celebrate Advent at Christmas, the coming of Jesus.
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to Lifeway. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the parents of two adult sons and two daughters-in-law.