The tradition of Celebrating Advent began in the Middle Ages. It is a wonderful opportunity to focus every day on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Advent traditions are a tool that enable us to keep Christ at the center of our Christmas. Advent can be as simple or elaborate as you decide. Each family can make their own creative traditions for this special season. Use this booklet as a guide for your family Advent celebration. Pray that God will use this to bring the wonder, glory and miracle of Christ's birth into the very center of your home this Christmas season.
Prepare for your family Advent celebration by assembling an Advent wreath. You will need a wreath and five long, taper candles. Place four candles in the circle of the wreath and one candle in the middle. Light the first candle at the beginning of each day's Advent celebration and blow it out at the conclusion of your family worship time. Begin each Advent reading with prayer. You may want to end your family worship with a Christmas carol or hymn and prayer.
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.
First Week (Light the first candle at the beginning of each day’s Advent celebration. Children may enjoy taking turns each day to be the “one” to blow out the candle.)
The first candle of this advent wreath represents hope. As we look forward to and anticipate Christmas Day, we are reminded that our hope is in the Christ Jesus whose birth we celebrate this season.
Sunday – Isaiah 40: 1-5
Monday – Isaiah 52: 7-10
Tuesday – Isaiah 40: 9-11
Wednesday – Genesis 3:8-15
Thursday – Genesis 15: 1-6
Friday – Deuteronomy 18: 15-19
Saturday – Psalm 89: 1-4
Second Week (Light the first and second candle at the beginning of each day's Advent celebration and blow it out at the conclusion of your family worship time.)
The second candle of this Advent wreath represents peace. As we look forward to and anticipate Christmas Day, we are reminded that real peace comes from the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sunday – Isaiah 11: 1-10
Monday – Zachariah 6: 12-13
Tuesday – Micah 5:2-4
Wednesday – Malachi 3:1-6
Thursday – John 1:1-8
Friday – John 1:9-18
Saturday – Mark 1:1-3
Third Week (Light the first, second and third candle at the beginning of each day's Advent celebration and blow it out at the conclusion of your family worship time.)
The third candle of this Advent wreath represents joy. As we look forward to and anticipate Christmas Day, we are reminded that real joy and lasting fulfillment comes from the One whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas.
Sunday – Luke 1:5 – 13
Monday – Luke 1: 14-17
Tuesday – Luke 1: 18-25
Wednesday – Luke 1: 39- 45
Thursday – Luke 1: 46-56
Friday – Luke 1: 57-66
Saturday – Luke 1: 67-80
Fourth Week (Light the first, second, third and fourth candle at the beginning of each day's Advent celebration and blow it out at the conclusion of your family worship time.)
The fourth candle of the Advent wreath represents love. As we look forward to and anticipate Christmas Day, we are reminded of the greatest example of Love ever given. In John 15:13 Jesus said, “greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for a friend." But Jesus didn't just say it, He lived it. He came to earth over 2000 years ago in order to lay down His life as our substitute on the cross. Because of His sacrificial love we can have new life!
Sunday – Isaiah 7:10-14
Monday – 1:26-36
Tuesday – Isaiah 9:2-7
Wednesday – Matthew 1:18-25
Thursday – Luke 2:1-20
Friday – Matthew 2:1-2
Saturday – Luke 2:21-35
Christmas Eve (Light all the candles.)
This special day concludes the Advent season. The middle candle is the most special of all because it represents Jesus. The Christ Candle is at the center of the Advent wreath and it reminds us that the other candles representing hope, joy, peace and love all have their source in Christ. He is the reason for hope, joy, peace and love.
Additional ideas to celebrate Advent with your family:
Give a gift to Jesus. Wrap up a big empty box, with the top open, and put it under the Christmas tree. Each week, add canned goods and staples for a family in need. On Christmas Eve secretly deliver it.
Give a gift of service. Get a small bale of hay and put it under your Christmas tree along with a box representing the manger. Explain to your family that this Christmas you're going to fill up baby Jesus' manger by doing secret, kind deeds to the members of your family. Each week, draw names from your own family. The person you draw is the person you will bless during the week with secret kind deeds. As each deed is done the individual that has done the deed can put a piece of straw in the manger under the tree.
Serve the church. The church is always in need of extra cleaning or tidying up. As a family, wash the windows, polish the wood, clean up the churchyard.
Serve your community. Do you have a neighbor who needs extra encouragement? Have fun thinking up a new version of the poem, The Twelve days of Christmas, and deliver secret gifts representing each day to your neighbors door.
May the Lord richly bless you as you seek to put Him in the center of your Christmas celebration!