How to Create a Meaningful Family Advent Tradition

Family Advent

It’s hard to believe we are halfway through the season of Advent already! We are watching and waiting in anticipation for something really special—the birth of Jesus! Our preparations this year though, are not at all like what we’ve done before as we navigate living in a pandemic. Many of our traditions, including in-person worship, parties, concerts and family gatherings will be virtual.

These changes can feel difficult, even sad at times. This is the complete opposite of what we usually feel during Advent—the hope, joy, love, and peace that Jesus brings to the world. 

I admit that I have found myself lamenting that it’s likely I won’t be celebrating Christmas with my extended family in person. I’m sure your family’s plans and preparations are different, too. Nevertheless, we all can find comfort in knowing God’s promise of the coming Messiah is unchanged. Advent is still Advent. Christmas is still Christmas.

Here are some activities to do together at home as part of your family Advent journey:

Nativity

As you set up your Nativity, retell the Christmas story using the figurines. Or try one of these:

  •       Download and colour this printable Nativity Scene
  •       Build a Nativity with Lego (just Google “Lego Nativity” for some great examples!)
  •       Use this free pattern to make puppets and put on a puppet show
  •       Act out the Nativity as a family

Bonus: Make a video of your retelling and share it with your family and friends!

Check out the Christmas lights

Go for a walk or drive around your neighbourhood to look at Christmas lights. As you look at the lights, talk about how Jesus is the light of the world. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate when you get home! 

Check out this post from The Hope Blog’s Advent 2019 series, all about hope and light, and some cool facts about Christmas lights!

Have a family movie night

Watch a Christmas movie (like A Charlie Brown Christmas or Veggie Tales: Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas). Don’t forget the popcorn! Take some time to talk about the true meaning of Christmas.

Bonus: Have a Christmas tree campout and fall asleep by the lights of your Christmas tree!

Read the Christmas story together (Luke 2:1-20)

Read Luke 2:1-20 from your Bible or watch Jesus is Born

As you read, pause to ask these ‘wondering questions’:

  •       I wonder what it was like to travel a long way.
  •       I wonder what it was like for Mary and Joseph to have to stay in a stable.
  •       I wonder what the shepherds thought when they saw the angels.
  •       I wonder what Mary and Joseph thought when shepherds came to see Baby Jesus.

Connect with family and friends

  •        Make Christmas cards to mail (Print these cards for kids to colour.)
  •        Bake cookies and do a doorstep drop off. Download this free printable of my family’s favourite sugar cookie recipe!
  •        Get together on Zoom/Facetime for a Christmas sing-along

Even though we are experiencing a very different Advent this year, I encourage you to look for and embrace the hope, joy, love, and peace of this season as we look forward to celebrating Christ’s birth.

Candace Kostna is partnering with the Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario (MNO) Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) in a faith formation project which includes her own website: growinfaith.ca

The Hope Blog Advent Series

Read Part One: Rediscovering the mystery of God with us

Read Part Two: The Hope of Christmas: Past, Present and Future

Read Part Three: Finding Peace: Three Things You Can Do This Christmas

Read Part Four: Laying Down a Life of Love