We had our Advent Night as a family this evening.
We have been doing Advent Nights the past several years to prepare for the Christmas season. It has been a good way to prepare our kids and focus on the primary reason why we celebrate this particular holiday.
The word “advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus” which means “coming” or “arrival”.
Advent is a time to revisit parts of the Christmas story for 4 weeks before December 25.
1. Sing a Christmas song that is related to the part of the Christmas story we are going to read.
2. Read part of the Christmas story (straight from the Bible or a Christmas story book for kids)
3. Find a lesson to learn and apply.
4. Pray. (for application, for a family …)
I just thought it might be helpful to give you ideas in case you’d like to do it with your family. The following I gleaned from Virginia Knowles’ article in the Startwell Homeschool Site.
Family Advent Night #1: “God is With Us”
1. Song: “O Come, O Come Immanuel” – The lyrics of this song (originally written in Latin) are a prayer for the Messiah to come and set the people free from their misery in sin. The tune was written in a minor key, which makes it sound melancholy to fit the lyrics. You may wish to point this out to your older children.
Isaiah 7:10-14 – Immanuel promised
Matthew 1:18-25 – Immanuel comes
Immanuel means “God with us” and Jesus means “The Lord saves.” Why do we need a Savior? Because we are sinners! Remind your children that you told them ahead of time some of what you would be doing, so they could know what to expect and how to prepare. Relate this to how God took the time to tell his people, through the prophet Isaiah, several hundred years early, that a special Messiah would be born. He told them many details so they could know what to expect.
5. Possible Activity:
Drive around through different neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. Remind your children that Jesus came to light up the dark world. We should be lights in the world, too, if we have Jesus in us.
Family Advent Night #2:“Jesus is Our Glorious King!”
1. Song. “Joy to the World”
Luke 1:26-56 — The angel told Mary that she would give birth to a king. When she visits her relative Elizabeth, she speaks forth what is now called the “Magnificat” – a psalm of praise to God. When you read the Scriptures this evening, choose people to read the parts of the narrator, Mary, the angel and Elizabeth. Practice ahead of time, if possible.
Ask what good things we can say about God and what he has done for us.
5. Possible Activity.
Watch the movie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which you can rent or buy on DVD. Talk about it and how Aslan represents Jesus as the King who came to redeem his people.
Family Advent Night #3: “Angels Sing!”
1. Song. “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”
Luke 2:1-21 – the birth of Jesus
Colossians 1:15-20 – the deity of Jesus (optional)
Who was Caesar Augustus? What is the census? Talk about how many people would have to travel to Bethlehem for the census, and that’s why there wasn’t any room in the inn. Shepherds were some of the lowliest and least respected members of society, but God chose them to be the first visitors to the newborn King. Perhaps that is because Jesus is our Good Shepherd, who lays his life down for his sheep!
5. Possible Activity.
Go Christmas caroling! You can walk around your own neighborhood, drop in on special friends or relatives, or visit an orphanage. If you do visit an orphanage, check ahead with the administrators to make sure this is OK, since there may be other groups visiting or the residents might go to sleep really early in a particular facility.
If you plan to stay home, choose another activity, such as:
Read your favorite books about the first Christmas.
Act out the Christmas story.
Draw pictures of the Nativity scene.
Make a simple nativity scene with felt or clay.
Family Advent Night #4: “Wise Men Still Seek Him”
1. Song. “We Three Kings”
Luke 2:22-40 – Simeon and Anna were very old, but they had been waiting many years for the Messiah to come. They were wise enough to recognize baby Jesus as the one God had promised through the Scriptures – and to praise God for it! The Holy Spirit even told Simeon to go to the temple courtyard that day!
Matthew 2:1-12 – The Wise Men had come from a long distance to see the newborn King. God can even use a special star to guide someone to Jesus! Compare their response to Jesus to the jealous reaction of King Herod. You can also talk about the meaning of the gifts the wise men brought. If you sing all of the verses of “We Three Kings” (as listed on the Cyberhymnal site linked below) they tell us that gold is for a king, frankincense was used for prayer and worship, and myrrh was a burial spice reminding us that the Messiah would die for our sins.
Are we led by the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit? Do we love to spend time at the Lord’s house like Simeon and Anna did? Are we willing to go anywhere for Jesus, even if it is a long way from home? What gifts can we give to God?
5. Possible Activity.
Decorate Christmas cookies which you have baked ahead of time. Deliver some of them as a gift to someone who might need a lift in their spirits – because what you do for other people in his name, you do unto Jesus. Or, if you want to be really ambitious, choose a needy family and buy presents for them. Enclose an encouraging note with Scripture, and deliver the bundle secretly to their doorstep.
Hope this helps.