Advent Activities for the Family

The season of Advent has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Growing up, I didn’t experience many traditions related to the season other than candle lighting. As a mother, I’m excited to enrich my experience of the season of preparation for our family through the use of creative activities. I’ve put together five different activities that families and friends can do to help celebrate the Advent season in a meaningful way that helps us experience this season with a sense of newness. Each creative activity will get your family to use their brains in a different way to create new connections with ideas and concepts that may have been dulled by overuse or tradition.  

Select one project a week and feel free to modify it for your families’ needs. I have kept these activities fairly broad for the purpose of modification. 

Star Hike:
Throughout the Christmas story, you find the key players traveling and journeying. This is an important concept for children during Advent. We need to have the faith to seek out Jesus, not just wait for him to show up. Our faith needs to be active, not static. For this activity, plan to go on a hike after the sun sets and either read these verses before you go or while you are on the walk/hike. (You can read them right from the text or just paraphrase the passages.) 

Joseph traveling to Bethlehem with Mary (Luke 2:4-5)
The wise men traveling from the East to see Jesus (Matthew 2:1)

Posted December 9, 2021

Questions to ask:  
     •  How can I seek Jesus actively today?  
     •  Do you like hiking alone or with friends? Why?  
     •  What would motivate you to walk all the way to Denver? Additional Advent verses and questions that can be tied to the hike:
The star guided the wisemen (Matthew 2:1-2)
The night sky was filled with angels proclaiming Jesus’ coming to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-14)
     •  What in nature helps you remember God?
     •  What does nature tell you about God?
     •  Have there been “signs” in your life that have helped you know where to go in seeking Jesus? What were they? 

Weaving Project:
A weaving is made of individual threads (the weft) carefully woven into the vertical frame strings (the warp) and then compacted against and supported by all the threads before it. We can look at God as a master weaver who takes little threads in the form of people, decisions, and events and weaves them into a masterful work of art that shows his glory. During Advent, we can practice the art of using small things to make something bigger (like God does) by completing a weaving project.  Advent helps us see all the small pieces, one by one, and how they fit into a larger story God has made. For this activity, you can follow this link to create a cardboard loom. Then you can compile a selection of string, ribbon and cloth (the more diverse, the better!) and think about what it could symbolize. (You’ll need between 25-50 strings depending on the thickness of the string or ribbon.)  Have your children help with this process. Cut each strand 4 inches longer than your loom width. Cut two strands (one for the top and one for the bottom) that will be 3 times as long as your other pieces. You will start the weaving with one of these pieces as an anchor. Tie it to the first string of the warp and weave it under and over each string. Do this for three rows, alternating under-over to over-under for each row. Next, weave each of the other pieces into the loom, again alternating the under-over pattern with each row. Press the strands tightly into the rows above. Follow this pattern until your loom is full. Finish your weaving with the other long string to stabilize your creation. The string ends will just hang freely like a fringe.

You can watch this little video to see how to use a dowel rod (or a stick) to tie off the warp strings and how to remove the whole piece from the loom.

 The key for this project is collaboration. Have each family member take turns selecting the string or ribbon to use and

weaving it through the warp. Explain why you picked the string you did.  Repeat this until the loom is full.

Scriptures that this project relates to: Psalm 139:13-16, Colossians 1:16-17, Isaiah 45:7-9
•  What is one part of the Christmas story that would make no sense if you didn’t know the rest of the story about Jesus? 
 •  If that part hadn’t happened, how would it have affected the outcome?
•What are some other things in God’s world that help us see that he makes a lot of small parts work together for a bigger purpose?

Rewriting “Twas the Night Before Christmas”:
For this project, you will need a piece of paper or a journal and a copy of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Have someone read through the poem. You are going to rewrite this poem using the true Christmas story instead. If you need a refresher on all the details, you can read Luke 2:1-19. Using the same rhythm and formatting as a poem, insert your own creative retelling of the night before the very first Christmas. Why do this? It helps us remember the birth of Jesus in a new way, in a different light. It gets you to consider the words that are needed to describe the actual night before Jesus was born. This takes creativity and thought. For a challenge, expand the Christmas story to the annunciation and the coming of the wisemen and title it accordingly. Work together. 
     •  Imagine you are there with Mary and Joseph on the night before Christmas. What does it look like? 
     •  What does it smell like?  
     •  What sounds do you hear?  
     •  What is the atmosphere or the mood? 
Click here for The Night Before Christmas poem.

Baking Project:
Jesse Tree Cookies. These cookies can be made from gingerbread or sugar cookie dough. You’ll need a Christmas tree cookie cutter or you can make a template from a piece of cardstock and just use a knife to cut out the cookies. Bake and decorate with green sprinkles. The Jesse Tree comes from Isaiah 11:1 and it reminds us that preparation for Christ’s first coming started LONG before Mary was told she was going to have a baby. The act of baking and using our hands helps us remember that Advent requires patience and work. We must actively pursue ways to celebrate this season, just as we need to actively gather ingredients, mix them, prepare them and bake them. 
     •  Can you think of any other trees that are important in the Bible? 
      •  What is something that is hard for you to wait for?  

Family Concert/Sing Along:
When we sing, something opens up in us that allows for a whole new realm of experience. It is a beautiful way to express our hope, our joy and even our confusion and sadness. Throughout the Bible, songs are used to worship God privately and corporately. The Bible records Mary’s song after the Annunciation and Zechariah’s song after John the Baptist was born. Read these two songs and look at what they say. Then take a couple minutes to select some favorite worship songs. (They don’t have to be Christmas songs, but they can be!) If you want a good resource, click here. With all your talent or lack thereof, spend some time singing together to music or acapella. Feel free to add some homemade instruments. My family loves beating on Tupperware and blowing on bottles. 
Scriptures: Luke 1:46-55, Luke 1:67-79, Psalm 100
     •  When you are singing your favorite song, how do you feel?
     •  What makes you want to sing?
     •  If you could write a song about anything right now, what would it be about?

Amelia Furman has been a member of Faith for eight years. She is a professional fine artist and teacher who specializes in mixed media art.

At Faith, Amelia serves on the writing team and encourages others in blessing people with their creativity. She loves telling meaningful, thought-provoking stories that shape imaginations and minds for God’s glory. 

Amelia is from Pennsylvania and enjoys painting, reading, running, hiking, and laughing.