Until recently I hadn’t thought much about Advent or preparing our family for Christmas. A few years ago we realised this would be our first Christmas with a child who could actually understand what was going on. So, we wanted to think more about creating fun, meaningful and faith-filled memories by introducing some family traditions. We decided to use the Advent Conversation Cards created by the team at She Reads Truth to help us be intentional through the silly season.
This set is made up of 29 satin-finished cards, each with a Bible verse, a lovely illustration and a set of questions. These questions are perhaps the cards’ best feature as they serve as great conversation starters for your family during the Advent season.
There are three questions on the back of every card, each one designed to cater for a different age group. Ages 2-5 require one-word answers, ages 5-11 a one-sentence answer and for ages 12+ there’s a discussion question to spark more questions and conversation. There is also a cheat sheet to give us parents a clue to the direction the question is heading.
If you are expecting a chronological telling of the Christmas narrative through these cards you will be disappointed. There is no obvious sequence to the verses, as they flit between Old Testament and New Testament, and while all Scripture is useful, some of the verses felt a bit obscure or ambitious for a children’s Advent set. Nevertheless, it is our hope that this tradition of using these cards will help us carve out space to chat about the significance of Christmas. We want to create an expectation that our family will share and ponder together the great gift of God’s love in sending Christ Jesus into our world.
We did our Advent cards after dinner. I purchased a calico Advent calendar from Kmart that has pockets and slotted a card into each of the days along with a small Christmas chocolate or gift. We used these treats as dessert or props while they listened to the Bible verse being read and participated in the discussion that followed. While it wasn’t quite perfect and I swapped days around because I couldn’t work it all out ahead of time, I did find a little planning ahead helped us make meaningful connections with things we would already be doing, like going to a carols service or doing a letter box drop. By including these sorts of things as an activity to do, in response to one of the verses we read, it provided extra conversations.
Here is an example of one of the cards with the verse, questions and the activities we came up with to do:
What is good?
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 8:8)
- Make up motions of the 3 things God requires for us (2-5 years)
- List the 3 things God requires of us and explain what those things mean (5-11 years)
- What are some ways that you can ‘walk humbly’ with God? (12+ years)
Pack an Operation Christmas Child Box or Give to Anglicare’s Toys & Tucker
Other activity ideas:
- Gift wrap their Bible or a Christmas storybook you already have on your shelf, unwrap and read the Christmas narrative together.
- Bake Christmas cookies for non-Christian neighbours/friends/family.
- Do a Christmas lights walk around the neighbourhood and pray for your community as you go.
Give Advent a go this Christmas. Create some festive and meaningful memories with your family. You can be as simple or as creative as you like. Whatever way you spend the weeks of advent this year, I hope you will carve out time for you and your family to ponder and behold the first coming of our Saviour King, Jesus Christ—Immanuel, God with us.