Article By Laurèn Heffner // featuring Advent calendar ideas adapted from Mandy Moler
Joy to the world! The Savior reigns. What could be more comforting to a weary soul than the power of the One who came to save them? Making an advent calendar is a great way to remember the joy of our Savior and teach kids about the importance of His birth. We put together this daily Bible reading plan with activities your whole family might enjoy.
Try reading the passage for the day on your own in the morning. Participate in the activity with your family during the day, keeping the passage in mind. Then, at the end of the day, read the passage again with your family recalling what a great time you had together earlier that day.
Day 1: Sing Christmas Carols!
Practice singing together: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World, and O Come All Ye Faithful before our Christmas Program (Sunday, 12/18). If your child plays an instrument, try planning a special event that evening when they get to perform their songs for your immediate family.
Read or sing together the lyrics of Silent Night. Read Luke 1 :26-28.
Day 2: Go Iceskating!
Talk about how cold it is on the rink on the way home. Could you imagine traveling like Joseph and Mary in the cold? Remind them that God knew where Jesus would be born before the world began! He even revealed this to prophets in the Old Testament. The scribes (those who copied the law and even taught it), knew that the Savior of the world would be born in Bethlehem because of this prophecy!
Read Luke 2:1-7 together. Also see Micah 5:2 for the birthplace of Jesus foretold.
Day 3: See Sheep and Donkeys Up Close
Visit animals at the Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan. Hours and location are listed on their website. Talk about the smells, sights and sounds of these animals.
Read Luke 2:3-7 together. Also read 1 Peter 2:24-25.
Day 4: Look at the Stars
Drive outside the city limits to see the stars at night and imagine what it must have been like to hear a multitude of heavenly hosts singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Read Luke 2:8-14 together.
Day 5: Make an Ornament for the Christmas Tree
At a craft store (Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, Michaels), buy a clear, craft ornament.
If you do not have glitter, glue, jewels, or any other filler to decorate this ornament, you can find those supplies in the same aisle. Be sure to assign great value to what they are making – it is meant to be a decoration set apart from all others on the tree (just as Jesus is set apart as God’s Son).
Read Luke 2:15-20 together.
Day 6: Make a Gingerbread House
You can buy a kit for $10.49 on sale, or $15 regular price, at stores like JoAnn’s. The house is already built and ready for decorating with icing and candy (which is also found in the kit). In the next passage, Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to the temple, therefore fulfilling the law. When we look at Jesus’ birth in light of the full revelation of God’s Word, we can see the significance of Jesus living in perfect obedience. This is a great time to share an important truth of the gospel: he lived perfectly in our place.
Read Luke 2:22-40 together.
Day 7: Walk Around in a Neighborhood of Christmas Lights
Take a walk on Thoroughbred Street in Rancho Cucamonga or another street you know of that lights up with Christmas colors. This is a great time to talk about Jesus as the light of the world.
Read John 1:1-18 & 12:44-50 together.
Day 8: Hide His Word in your Heart
Try memorizing Isaiah 53:5 as a family. Make flashcards, print this verse and ask for help putting it up around the house. Look up big words together and see how fast each child can find this verse in the Bible.
Read Isaiah 53.
Day 9: Watch a Movie About the Story of Jesus’ Birth
Read Matthew 2:1-10.
Day 10: Wrap a Christmas Present Together (no matter how it looks).
These presents can be small empty boxes for decoration or a small gift the child bought to give someone at some point during Christmastime.
Read Matthew 2:11-12.
Day 11: Write Christmas Cards (or draw, depending on age)
Pick up some Christmas cards you’d like to give family or friends that you and the little ones can work on together. Let them know that this is one way we can write about God’s love for us and our love for these people.
Write out 1 John 4:10 together.
Read 1 John 4:7-21 and all of chapter 5 together.
Day 12: Eat Together and Remember Christ’s Sacrifice to Redeem Us
Read a story of Christ’s birth together or watch this clip from Sally Lloyd Jones’ book, The Jesus Storybook Bible. Jesus came to do what we couldn’t do so that we could live with God and enjoy Him forever. That is why joy has come to the world, and that is how the Savior reigns.
Read Isaiah 9:6-7 together.