What is Advent?
Advent means “coming” or “arrival,” and it is a special time when the church remembers the promises of Jesus’ first coming and looks forward to His promise to come again. Just as John the Baptist told the Jewish people to “prepare” for the Lord’s coming, we are to encourage one another to be ready for His second coming. The Christian Church has observed a Christmas season since the 4th century, and there was always a period of preparation before Christmas Day. In the 10th century the four-week pattern was finally settled, so we’ve been doing this for 1000 years!
Why celebrate Advent?
Seasons such as Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter are powerful opportunities to rekindle or begin a devotional life for ourselves and our families. Advent can help us restore Jesus to the center of the Christmas celebration as we read, sing, and talk about the need for a Savior.
When is Advent?
Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (December 1st this year) and can last between 22 and 28 days.
What do I need in order to celebrate Advent with my family?
You will need a Bible for readings and an “Advent Readings Calendar” (image below). Other items you may find helpful include an Advent Wreath, a selection of Christ-centered children’s stories for younger children, and Christmas music.
Are there additional ways we can use the season of Advent to help us focus on Christ and others?
Yes! Below you will find a list of 25 ways your family can spend meaningful time together (in addition to the daily Scripture Readings).
25 Ways to Celebrate Advent
Bake Christmas cookies and share with your neighbors.
Visit a sick or elderly friend.
Make a “Gifts We Already Have” list and post it in a central location.
Deliver or donate blankets to those who sleep in the cold.
Create a card to send to a hospitalized child.
Sit with a child who needs a friend at lunch.
Help someone with their chores.
Clean up trash in your neighborhood or local park.
Make a meal for someone.
Leave something special for your mail carrier.
Read a Christmas book as a family.
Have a hot chocolate bar night.
Make a snow globe from a mason jar.
Attend a Christmas parade.
Build a gingerbread house.
Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas or another favorite Christmas movie.
Collect canned goods for a local food pantry.
Create a paper, cranberry, or popcorn chain for your Christmas tree.
Buy a new toy for charity.
Go ice skating.
Bake a birthday cake for Jesus.
Take a drive to see Christmas lights in your pajamas.
Put out a nativity together and then read the Christmas story.
Play a board game or put a puzzle together.
Go caroling with friends.