Book Bites: Family Advent Devotionals
By Cheryl Arnold
We will soon enter the season of Advent, and it is so much more than a countdown to Christmas. It is the beginning of a new liturgical year and is a four-week period of anticipating both the birth of Christ and His glorious return. One way to invite children to experience the Advent season is through family devotions. Following are some Advent devotional guides written for families with children ages 4-8.
25 Days of the Christmas Story: A Family Advent Experience by Dr. Josh Straub (author), Christi Straub (author) and Jane Butler (illustrator)
Each day in this devotional focuses on a different person, place or object from the Christmas story—from the prophet Isaiah to the baby Jesus, from the star to the gift of frankincense. These are arranged chronologically, and each day includes a short devotional story, character trait, life lesson, family activity, and family time question, concluding with a bible verse and short prayer. In the back of the book are pages to record family memories.
The Jesus Storybook Bible: A Christmas Collection by Sally Lloyd-Jones (author) and Jago (illustrator)
This interactive picture book is a companion to the beloved Jesus Storybook Bible. For each day of Advent there is a short devotional thought and activity, along with suggested Bible readings tracing Jesus’ story through the Old Testament and our need for a Rescuer. The book includes 16 buttons with 20 seconds of classic Christmas music or narration by British actor David Suchet, as well as a devotional thought and activity for Epiphany. If you already have a Jesus Storybook Bible, you may want to instead download the free 2021 Advent kit, which is designed for use with it. The kit includes 24 printable Christmas ornaments, a reading plan for each day of December, coloring pages, several printable memory cards, and a link to a Christmas soundtrack.
A Family Advent Guide by Watermark Community Church
Watermark Community Church has created two family Advent guides—Do You See What I See and Wonders of His Love. Both are available online at no cost. These family Advent guides will help families discover how every story, from creation to the manger, points to our need for a Savior and how Jesus fulfilled that great need. Each day includes a scripture reading, a devotional reading, two or three questions for discussion, and an ornament activity in the tradition of the Jesse Tree. Ornament cutouts are included in Wonders of His Love, but for either Advent guide parents can also provide simple paper, foam, or wood shapes on which children can draw or color a small picture to tell a little bit of the Christmas story. These can then be hung from a tree branch taken from the yard or on a small Christmas tree, or clipped to a piece of twine hung like a garland. By the end of the month, children will begin to understand how the little Bible stories fit together into one bigger true story about Jesus and God’s plan of salvation. You can view both guides online or download and print them by copying and pasting the following links into your browser:
Do You See What I See
Wonders of His Love