6 WAYS TO CELEBRATE ADVENT WITH CHILDREN

Thanksgiving is over and Advent is upon us.  Advent marks the beginning of a new liturgical year.   There are a variety of activities that our family has engaged in over the years as a way to enter into the spirit of this season in a deep and meaningful way. 

Here are a few of our family’s favorite Advent traditions:

 

 1.  Is the Manger Soft for Baby Jesus to Lay his Head? 

 

At the beginning of Advent we set up our family creche and leave the manger empty.  We put together a medium size zip-lock bag of hay or straw.  Each day of Advent, during our family prayer time, we have our children share some of the good and purposeful deeds that they have engaged in throughout that day and/or sacrifices that they have made.  For each good deed they have done or sacrifice made,  they place a piece of straw in the manager to prepare the bed for baby Jesus to lay his head upon. 

 

When Christmas Eve arrives, we have a candlelight family procession throughout our home to bring baby Jesus to the manger that has been lovingly prepared for him throughout the Advent season.  

 

 

2. CLICK HERE** Celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas With Children

 

 

3.   Candy Canes!!!

Since candy canes are a big part of the Christmas season, we teach our children about the spiritual meaning behind this delightful treat by reading the book:  The Legend of the Candy Cane.

 

4.   Advent Wreath

An Advent Wreath  is probably one of the most popular and common Advent activities to do as a family. In scripture Jesus is referred to as “the light of the world.” As the  Advent or “coming” of Jesus draws nearer – a candle is lit.  The Advent wreath has four candles- which are lit, one at a time, on each of  the four Sunday’s of Advent.  With each candle that it lit,  symbolically the darkness of the world  is dispelled as Christ’s light penetrates the hearts of His people through His birth or re-birth into our lives.

Without beginning or end, the circular shape of the wreath symbolizes God’s complete and unending love for us.  There are 4 purple candles and one pink.  Purple is a liturgical color that is used to signify a time of prayer, penance and sacrifice.   Advent is a time of waiting and hopeful anticipation of the birth of Our Lord. It is often called a “little Lent.”  A purple candle is lit the first, second and fourth week of Advent.  The third week of Advent, called Gaudete (rejoice) Sunday, we light a pink candle.  Pink is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy.  On this Sunday we celebrate that the birth of Jesus is drawing very near and our wait is almost over.

There are many Advent prayer books that include prayers to bless the Advent wreath and also to accompany the candle lighting to make it a special ceremony.

You can purchase an Advent wreath or you can make your own.

Having an Advent wreath in your home and using it as a way to prepare your heart and the hearts of each of your family members for the birth of Christ – is a wonderful way to enter into the true meaning of this blessed time of year!

5.  A Christmas Tree!!

Probably one of the most common and bonding traditions that many households participate in during the Advent season is setting up and decorating a real or artificial Christmas tree.   Do you know why we do this though?  There is a spiritual significance and a treasured history of deep meaning that goes with this popular activity. You can read more about it in the book The Legend of the Christmas Tree. In our home we read this book the day we chop down and set up our tree as a reminder of the deeper meaning of what we are doing.

 

6.  The Jesse Tree

The Jesse tree helps us connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events leading to Jesus’ birth.  The title Jesse Tree comes from Isaiah 11:1: “A shoot shall come out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”  A Jesse Tree is a way to symbolically tell the story of God in the Old Testament and have a deeper understanding and appreciation for Jesus’s family lineage. 

 

We make our Jesse Tree out a few dead branches that we  put together in a pot  (we secure our branches with play-dough.) We then make ornaments that represent the people, prophesies, and events leading up to the birth of Jesus.  If you google “Jesse Tree ” – you will find a plethora of ornaments you can purchase or that are in printable form for your children to color and place on the tree. 

Make the most of this Advent season to deepen your relationship with Christ by preparing your heart to more fully receive Him at Christmas.

 

 

Have a blessed Advent!

6 WAYS TO CELEBRATE ADVENT WITH CHILDREN
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KATHLEEN BILLINGS
I am blessed to be a wife to my best friend, mother of five beautiful blessings and three more souls in Heaven. I write about living my faith as a wife and mother amidst the ordinary moments each day that God wants to make extraordinary! I also share my passion for total health - body and soul and my equal zest for living life intentionally in every season of life! I am an outdoor enthusiast, gardener, regular blogger on marriage for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Website, contributing author to the book "Amazing Grace for Mothers," a speaker, and a lover of life! WELCOME! Thank you for visiting my site!

3 thoughts on “6 WAYS TO CELEBRATE ADVENT WITH CHILDREN

  • December 2, 2017 at 4:06 pm
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    Kathleen: This is all so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your family, your faith and your talents with all of your friends. Hopefully it will move more people to do more with their families. Your are an inspiration to all of us. I love you, Bev

    Reply
    • December 29, 2017 at 5:04 am
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      Beverly, thank you so much for you kind words. I pray that God can use my posts to help others grow in their faith as individuals, in their marriages and in their families!

      Reply
    • January 12, 2018 at 8:41 pm
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      Beverly, I apologize for my very late reply. I somehow missed this comment. Thank you so much for your very kind words! It touches my heart deeply to read what you wrote. I pray that God can use my writing to inspire others in their love for God and and for their families!

      Reply

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