I know it is November and we have yet to cut our Thanksgiving turkeys or flip through Black Friday advertisements, but if you want to make an advent activity for Christmas, now is the time!
Advent is a time to anticipate and ponder the birth of Jesus, and not only the birth of Jesus, but the reason he came to earth - to save us!
I had wanted to do an advent activity for a couple of years before last year and I just never found "the one." Last year, our oldest was three and it was really time to start those traditions on top of what we were already teaching them, so back in September of 2014 I decided I was going to *make* an advent activity.
I decided to use ornaments made of felt (I find felt easy to work with) and I searched for Bible verses and pages/stories in the Jesus Storybook Bible (by Sally Lloyd-Jones - I recommend that every home, with children or not, have at least one copy because it is SO good) that would help the boys understand each part of the story as well as possible.
Because the story of Christmas really begins, well, at the beginning, and hasn't ended yet, I didn't want to do just a manger scene, but something broader.
After a lot of brainstorming, writing ideas, scratching those ideas out, writing new ideas, sketching, and so on, I finally decided on 24 parts to our advent activity.
We have a large Christmas tree that we have already decorated, but I got a small tree for our advent ornaments and decorated it with some clear lights, beaded garland, and a simple tree topper. I made a wall hanging with 24 pockets for the ornaments.
Each day, we get the day's ornament from its pocket, read the story/verses, and hang the ornament on the tree. We also sing a Christmas song and pray.
I don't have patterns for the ornaments; I just cut them out from felt and sewed them either by hand or with my sewing machine. Be sure to add some kind of hanger to each one as you make them so that you can put the hook on and hang it on your tree. I made mine very simple, but you can make yours as simple or as complicated as you like.
Feel free to adapt these as you need or want to. This was my first run, and I edited it a bit putting this together, and I'm sure I will change it some after I see how the boys understand it and react to it this year too. The main thing is to tell your kids about Jesus! I hope in sharing this with you, you are able to share more about Jesus with your children, and that it makes your holiday season even better.
Day 1: Creation
Reading: The Beginning: A Perfect Home, p. 18-27, Jesus Storybook Bible (JSB)
Day 2: The Fall
Ornament: Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Reading: The Terrible Lie, p. 28-33, JSB
Day 3: Promise of a Savior, part 1
Ornament: Bethlehem (I gave it a white background to symbolize it being a prophecy)
Reading: The Terrible Lie, p. 34-36, JSB
Day 4: Promise of a Savior, part 2
Ornament: Cross (with a white background for the same reason as the previous one)
Reading: p. 174-175, JSB
Day 5: Mary
Reading: p. 178, JSB
Day 6: The Angel Gabriel
Ornament: Angel Gabriel
Reading: p. 179, JSB
Day 7: Mary's Song
Ornament: Music Notes
Reading: Luke 1:46-55
Day 8: Joseph
Reading: Matthew 1:18-19
Day 9: Joseph's Dream
Reading: Matthew 1:20-21
Day 10: The Decree
Ornament: Scroll with Writing
Reading: Luke 2:1-3
Day 11: Bethlehem
Reading: Luke 2:4-5
Day 12: No Room
Ornament: Crowded house
Reading: p. 180-181, JSB
Day 13: Manger
Ornament: Manger with hay
Reading: Luke 2:7
Day 14: Baby Jesus
Ornament: Swaddled baby Jesus
Reading: He's here!, p. 176, and p. 182, JSB
Day 15: Flocks of Sheep
Ornament: Sheep in grass
Reading: p. 186, JSB
Day 16: Shepherds
Ornament: Shepherds with staffs
Reading: p. 188-190, JSB
Day 17: Heavenly Host
Ornament: Several angels
Reading: Luke 2:8-14
Day 18: Star
Reading: The Light of the whole world, p. 184, JSB
Day 19: Three Wise Men
Ornament: Three Wise Men
Reading: The King of all kings, p. 192-198, JSB
Day 20: Jesus Teaching
Ornament: Jesus with arms outstretched
Reading: The Singer, p. 228-235, JSB (or any passage about Jesus teaching)
Day 21: Jesus Performing Miracles
Ornament: Jesus walking on water
Reading: The Captain of the storm, p. 236-242, JSB (or any passage about Jesus performing miracles)
Day 22: The Crucifixion
Reading: The sun stops shining, p. 302-308, JSB
Day 23: The Resurrection
Ornament: Tomb with stone rolled away
Reading: God's wonderful surprise, p. 310-317, JSB
Day 24: Redemption and Restoration
Ornament: Broken heart mended
Reading: p. 348 (2nd paragraph on) - 351, JSB