Advent is important to celebrate, but it’s a concept that may be difficult to explain to young children! Let’s review what Advent is and think about how we can put it into terms children can understand.
When is Advent?
Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas. The Advent season starts four Sundays before Christmas and finishes on Christmas Eve.
What is Advent?
Advent is a joyous season of preparation! The word itself actually derives from the Latin word meaning “coming.” During these four weeks, we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus, with prayer, meditation, and more. Celebrating Advent is a meaningful way to prepare our hearts for Christmas.
How to Explain?
Waiting is a struggle for many young children. To begin your Advent conversation, remind your child of times she eagerly waited for something good, perhaps for her birthday or a new sibling.
Next, go to the Old Testament and explain to her about the promises God made. Talk about how He promised to send someone to set us free and give us abundant life, then read the corresponding verses from the New Testament that show how Jesus fulfilled those promises! Read Luke 1, and discuss it with your child. Consider doing all of this with her own Bible.
How to Celebrate?
A great and practical way to celebrate Advent is with a family craft night! Spend quality time together to make an Advent wreath. Advent wreaths have five candles set on top: three purple, one pink, and one white in the center. Talk to your child about how the purple candles represent us preparing for the Lord’s coming through things such as prayer and fasting, the pink candle represents rejoicing, and the white candle represents Christ’s purity and light.
The Advent season is also a great time of year to share God’s love with others. Consider volunteering at a local homeless shelter, hosting a food drive, or donating food and supplies to an animal shelter.
As you teach your children about Advent, show them how we find joy in the Christmas season because of the birth of Jesus. Place less of a focus on material things surrounding Christmas, and do your best to leave some time open on your calendar. Slow down, and set aside time to think, process, and pray with your children during Advent.
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