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Kid-Friendly Family Christmas Advent Ceremony

Updated on December 13, 2017

At Home Advent

Advent candles and a Bible.
Advent candles and a Bible. | Source

Childhood Advents

When I was a child, I loved our family preparations for Christmas. These activities included conducting a family Advent ceremony for the four Sundays before December 25th. Held in the evening after sunset, the candles glowing in our dark living room accentuated all the mysteries of the impending Holy Day. Being able to read from the booklet marked a rite of passage. And, oh --- being permitted to light one of the candles (under CLOSE supervision) was grown-up indeed!

When I had my own children, observing Advent at home was equally special to me. My sons thrilled at the same responsibilities that enthralled me so many years earlier. Plus, with all the mainstream hype about presents and Santa Claus, it was nice to have this kid-friendly information about the meaning of Christmas to balance the input.

For both sets of childhoods, the ceremony came from a Methodist Church in Bethel Park, PA. As a parent, I adapted it to the level of the kids as needed. What I share with you below is a very simple adaptation, which I encourage you to further change to tailor it to your beliefs and to your family's needs.

Advent Ceremony Materials

I have not always owned an "official" wire Advent candle holder. Thus I will offer suggestions for alternates to what some may consider the strict or formal supplies. Personally, I don't think God gets hung up over candle colors or sizes.

Supplies

5 candles - some denominations use 4 pink and 1 purple; or 3 pink, 1 purple, 1 white. My family always used combinations of green, red, and white. If you don't have traditional width tapers, birthday candles or scented pillars or electric blinking fake candles would do.

5 candleholders - Again, if you do not own an "Advent candle holder," whatever you do have for each candle works. If you do not have anything, I have been there and done that, too. You can choose an empty baby food jar or a short drinking glass and put the candle in it. Then, crumple up enough aluminum foil around the candle to hold it upright and perfectly steady. We do not want a lit candle falling from its holder.

Aluminum foil - I highly recommend this for steadying candles and also to protect your ceremonial surface from drips of molten candle wax. Tear off a 12- to 18-inch sheet to spread beneath your candle set-up.

Print-outs of a ceremony - The one below will work. :D

Matches or a lighter under STRICT ADULT SUPERVISION.

Bible with Old and New Testament - You must have the Old Testament for all the predictions from back in the day before Christ was born.

View of the Advent Candles on Christmas Eve

The plastic wreath of winter greens is a decorative touch for the Advent supplies,  but not liturgically needed.  In this photo my center candle is in a candleholder, but in the past it was often secured in a short glass with crumpled aluminum foil.
The plastic wreath of winter greens is a decorative touch for the Advent supplies, but not liturgically needed. In this photo my center candle is in a candleholder, but in the past it was often secured in a short glass with crumpled aluminum foil. | Source

The Advent Ceremonies

Count backwards from Christmas Eve (December 24th) to identify 4 Sundays coming before it. Now you have your starting Sunday. Again, I go with the spirit of the observance over strict rules and regulations. If child visitation schedules or family social demands make a Sunday observance stressful, do a ceremony on a Saturday or a Monday night.

Below you will find very simple and short scripts for each of the nights of Advent. They are written with reading roles assigned to Father , Mother, Child. You, as the adult, will need to assign the readers and the candle lighters.

First Sunday of Advent

(Start with unlit candles.)

Father: Christmas is the happiest day of the year. It is Jesus's birthday. The story begins long ago when the people of the world needed someone to show them how to be kind.

Child: Jesus would teach us how to be good at loving one another.

Father: In a little country called Palestine, 2 men named Isaiah and Micah learned that God would be sending Jesus to the world. Let us read Isaiah 9:6-7.

[Another family member reads the Bible passage.]

Father: God said that when the promised one came he would be like a light in the world. Let us read Isaiah 9:2.

[Another family member reads the Bible passage.]

Mother: Let _________ (child) light our first Advent candle. It will help us remember God's promise.

(All are silent as child lights candle.)

Mother: Micah told the people where this would come true. Let us read Micah 5:2. (Mother reads it.)

Optional song: Let us sing about this place. Everyone sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

Father: Now in the light of our first Advent candle, let us thank God for sending Jesus.

Prayer (do whatever your faith requires for a prayer): Thanks, God, for teachers of long ago who told us about your plan to send Jesus. Thanks for all the good things He did. And, thank you for all the days between now and Christmas when we will be doing good things and planning to make others happy. Amen.

Extinguish candles.

Second Sunday of Advent

(Start with unlit candles.)

Mother: Last week we lit the first of our Advent candles to remember God's promise that He would send a special baby to help the world. We remember that the baby would be born in Bethlehem. This baby Jesus would need a good home with loving parents. So, God picked Joseph and Mary to be his dad and mom. One day God let Mary know about His wonderful plan. Let us read Luke 1:26-31.

[Another family member reads the Bible passage.]

Father: Now it is time to light 2 candles. _______________ (child) may light the first one that reminds us of God's promise. __________________ (another child) may light our second candle. It will help us remember the good home of Mary and Joseph.

(All are silent as candles are lit.)

Child: Mary was so happy that God chose her to be the mother of baby Jesus that she sand a song of thanks. We can read it in Luke 1:46-55. [Another family member reads the Bible passage.]

Mother: Perhaps Mary said she would get the baby clothes ready and sing sweet songs to baby Jesus.

Child: Maybe Joseph said I will teach Jesus to be a good carpenter and a good person.

Optional Song: "Joy to the World."

Father: Now while the 2 candles burn brightly, let us thank God for the great joy that came to the world when Jesus was born.

Prayer (do whatever your faith requires for a prayer): Thanks, God, for choosing Mary and Joseph to be the parents of Jesus. Thanks for all the good things He did. And, thank you for all the happy times we have in our family. Amen.

Extinguish candles.

Third Sunday of Advent

(Start with unlit candles.)

Father: Last week we lit the first 2 of our Advent candles to remember God's promise that He would send a special baby to help the world. We remember that the baby would be born in Bethlehem. This baby Jesus would need a good home with loving parents. So, God picked Joseph and Mary to be his dad and mom.

Mother: While Mary and Joseph waited for Jesus to be born in their house in the town of Nazareth, the King made a law. He said everyone had to take a trip to write their name in a people-counting book. He said that Joseph and Mary had to travel to a town called Bethlehem to obey the law. Let us read Luke 2:1-7.

[Another family member reads the Bible passage.]

Father: Now it is time to light 3 candles. _______________ (child) may light the first one that reminds us of God's promise.

__________________ (another child) may light our second candle. It will help us remember the good home of Mary and Joseph.

Let ______________ (child) light the third candle to remind us of the hope and the love Jesus brought into the world that night.

(All are silent as candles are lit.)

Optional song: "Away in a Manger."

Child: While Jesus was sleeping in his manger bed, something very exciting happened outside of town.

Read Luke 2:8-20

[Another family member reads the Bible passage.]

Mother: This was the first Christmas night. The baby's first visitors were sheep watching farmers called shepherds. They were not rich people. They loved God and were glad that they learned about Jesus.

Father: Now while the 3 candles burn brightly, let us thank God for making His promise come true and letting the shepherds see the light in the sky and hear the angels sing.

Prayer (do whatever your faith requires for a prayer): Thanks, God, for finding a place for Jesus to be born and for the regular people who helped celebrate His birth. Please help us bring peace to the world the way Jesus planned. Amen.

Extinguish candles.

Advent wreath.
Advent wreath. | Source

Fourth Sunday of Advent

(Start with unlit candles.)

Mother: Every week as we looked at our Advent candles, they reminded us that Christmas is coming and that Christmas should be like candle light: bright with hope and kindness and love. The story of Christmas continues with astronomers - scientists who study stars - seeing a strange star in the sky. The Bible calls them wise men. They went to the land's king and asked about a new king.

Let us read Matthew 2:1-6.

[Another family member reads the Bible passage.]

Father: No wonder King Herod was worried. He liked being the king. He did not want the country to have anyone as king but him. Let us read Matthew 2:7-12.

[Another family member reads the Bible passage.]

Father: Now it is time to light 4 candles. _______________ (child) may light the first one that reminds us of God's promise.

__________________ (another child) may light our second candle. It will help us remember the good home of Mary and Joseph.

______________ (child) may light the third candle to remind us of the hope and the love Jesus brought into the world that night.

Let _________________ (child) light our fourth candle to remind us of the visit of the wise men bringing presents to baby Jesus.

(All are silent as candles are lit.)

Optional song: "We Three Kings."

Father: Now while the 4 candles burn brightly, let us thank God for making His promise come true and picking Mary and Joseph to love and raise Jesus. And, thanks to God for letting the shepherds and the wise men see the light in the sky and visit Jesus.

Prayer (do whatever your faith requires for a prayer): Thanks, God, for the busy and exciting days between now and Christmas. Please help us stop sometimes to look at our Advent candles and remember why we have Christmas. Amen.

Extinguish candles.

Christmas Eve

(Start with unlit candles.)

Father: It is Christmas Eve. Advent, the four weeks of getting ready for Christmas, is over. It is Christmas Eve tonight all over the world because once upon a time about 2 thousand years ago, Jesus was born

Mother: Every week as we looked at our Advent candles, we thought about a part of the Christmas story from the Bible. Now on Christmas Eve let us put all the parts together.

Father: We will remember the story as we light the first 4 candles.

_______________ (child) may light the first one that reminds us of God's promise for a Prince of Peace to come to earth.

__________________ (another child) may light our second candle. It will help us remember the good home of Mary and Joseph for baby Jesus.

______________ (child) may light the third candle to remind us of the hope and the love Jesus brought into the world that night.

_________________ (child) may light the fourth candle to remind us of the visit of the wise men bringing presents to baby Jesus.

(All are silent as candles are lit.)

Mother: Our fifth candle is tall and new. It tells us that the Christmas story goes on and on year after year. _________________ (child) may light the fifth candle to be our family's birthday candle for baby Jesus.

Optional songs: "Happy Birthday" and "Silent Night."

Prayer (do whatever your faith requires for a prayer): Thanks, God, for the best Christmas to each of us: Jesus. Amen.

Extinguish candles.



Please feel free to use and modify and reproduce these ceremonies. I hope they bring you even a little portion of the good feelings they gave me.

Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan. Permission is given to reproduce with credit given to the author and the url of this article included.

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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Teaches12345, thank you for your kind words. This kid-friendly ceremony has been so important to me that I really wanted to share it with anyone else who might benefit.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Great hub. My grandchildren do advent with parent and they really love it. I love the scripture references and ideas you listed. Growing up in PA, as I did in Indiana, you get the snow which I think adds to the season. Thanks.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Amerben and randomcreative, thank you.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Awesome resource for all those with kids! Thank you.

    • profile image

      amerben 

      6 years ago

      Thanks, Maren. B.T.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile imageAUTHOR

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Danette, thank you for your comment. You are so right that there are no guarantees in life. However, you always have the option of starting home advent ceremonies just for yourself. My children live far away and there are no grandchildren yet. But it gives me comfort to do it in my own way just for me. Blessings of the season on you!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      Very nice hub. I was raised in a Catholic home and we had an evening Advent ceremony as well. It isn't something I continued very long or very well when my own kids were small. My husband isn't religious at all and I was struggling with conflicting feelings about the RC Church so an Advent ceremony was rather hit and miss. After several years, I just gave it up. There are times when I wish I had given my kids a stronger foundation in the church. However, I know this is no guarantee for anything. We each need to find our own path.

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