Tips for Advent Season with Kids
Post by Amy Lowe, Director of WinShape Camps for Girls
This time of year is magical for a family with little kids in the house. Everything has us starry-eyed and wonder-filled. You are not going to be shocked to hear that this time of year is my favorite. Leaves have fallen, the air is crisp, and the spirit of Christmas is upon us. Our kids are 9 and 7 and so they are all about Christmas. Every. Single. Part. So, in that way, it does make it easy to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas. But, in our world full of me, me, me; gifts galore; and new toys that I have no idea what they are or what they do, but believe you me my kids want them. Whew. It can be exhausting and overwhelming fighting against the culture and reminding our kids that Jesus is the reason for the season.
This post is all about lifting up and showing you ways that our family has kept Jesus at the center. But, hear me say I am no expert and I am very much in the trenches with you trying to remind my kids (and myself if I am being honest) why we have this Christmas season to begin with. Remembering. And living out of that remembrance.
The first way we’ve found to do this is through the wonderful resources that are out there to help point kids to Jesus during the Advent season. We are still at the age where our kids love to snuggle up at the end of a long day with Dad and read Bible stories. So, we use that time to read and discuss a different part of Advent with them. LifeWay.com is a great place to visit and has great Advent resources for kids. They even have a free Family Advent Guide PDF available to anyone here.
We’ve used different books and calendars and have loved them all – Jesus Calling: The Story of Christmas; The Advent Storybook; The Way to the Manger; and The Littlest Watchman.
We also use dinner time to keep Jesus at the center. You may have gotten some of these in your kid’s meal recently at Chick-Fil-A, but Table Topics Cards are a great way to get everyone involved in conversation and good news – there is a Christmas version here!
Christmas movies are our jam. Don’t tell anyone but every once in a while in July, October, or even March – we pull out a Christmas movie to enjoy together. So, you better believe that almost every night in the month of December we are pulling out some little Christmas show to enjoy. We love them all, and you can probably pull out lessons about Jesus from many of them to discuss with your kids. Of course, the ones that more overtly point to Christ are easier – some of those that we love are: The Star, Charlie Brown Christmas, Veggie Tales the Best Christmas Gift, and Veggie Tales Merry Larry.
And don’t let Christmas music pass you by. This is probably one of the easiest ones because many, many Christmas songs shine a light on the true meaning and so pull that out and discuss it with your kids.
Be sure, too, that you are plugging into your church. So many churches have Advent traditions that you can invite your kids into. Ours has a Christmas kids musical each year that begins in October and culminates in one full worship service in early December where they perform on stage. Those Christmas songs that we practice over and over again are all about Jesus and we catch ourselves singing them weeks after the performance is done! Our Christmas Eve tradition also includes attending the Christmas Eve service at our church together as a family and reading the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 as a family before we go to bed that night.
I am sure that many of you also point to Jesus through the giving to others. Operation Christmas Child has become a staple in our Christmas tradition and since we usually have to turn those in by Thanksgiving it is a great way to kick off the Christmas Season. There are so many ways to give back to others who don’t have the means to provide Christmas gifts for their children so look for ways to do that and talk about how Jesus gave the ultimate gift to us through His coming.
I hope that this season we all remember the true meaning. The gift of Jesus is truly the best gift under the tree each year and showing our kids that time and time again is a worthy use of your time and effort as they grow. Let’s spur each other on to shine a light on Jesus this Christmas season in our families.