We are excited to announce the launch of our newest family Advent devotional resource: An Illustrated Advent for Families: In Light & Darkness! It’s not just an Advent devotional for kids, but for people of all ages.
– Erica Jeglum, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
It’s hard to believe, but this is our fifth year of publishing our annual Advent resource for families. An Illustrated Advent for Families provides families with a resource for engaging their children in faith formation during the Advent season. This Advent devotional for kids and families, along with An Illustrated Lent for Families, has been used by thousands of families around the world, and we can’t wait for you to check out this new edition.
Family Advent Devotional
It’s no secret that families today are busy, and rather than make a family Advent devotional that feels burdensome, we wanted to create an Advent devotional for kids and families that would be simple but meaningful. Accessible for all ages, but also thought-provoking.
An Illustrated Advent for Families: In Light & Darkness will help you slow down, ask questions, have fun, be intentional about how you spend your family time and get creative! There are simple but meaningful devotions for all ages, a fantastic craft that includes coloring and will be fun to create throughout Advent, and an Advent Calendar that is more than just opening up chocolates every day before Christmas.
Keep reading to learn a bit more about the activities in this year’s edition, and to hear testimonials from people who have used our previous versions of An Illustrated Advent for Families.
– Jessie Brajcki, Children’s and Youth Pastor, Artisan Church
Advent Devotional for Kids
This year’s theme is In Light & Darkness. The weekly devotions explore the theme of light and darkness in Advent scriptures. How we understand these ideas affect the way we view God, our faith, and our world. Inspired by Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, we re-frame traditional understandings of light as good and darkness as bad or evil.
Each week, there is a suggested scripture to read, a short reflection, discussion questions, an activity (with lots of coloring opportunities), and a prayer to explore the theme of light and darkness working in balance in our lives.
These weekly devotionals are written so they can be used by children of all ages (and adults as well), and we believe you’ll find questions and discussion topics in each of the devotionals that will work for your children, no matter the age.
– Mary Hagley, Minister of Families, Dixboro UMC
In Light & Darkness: An Illustrated Devotional
This year we are also offering another devotional that goes into our theme of light and darkness a bit more, and also has discussion questions that work for all ages. This Illustrated Devotional is a new type of product for us, and we think you’re really going to like it.
This unique intergenerational resource is a hybrid devotional/coloring book. In Light and Darkness: An Illustrated Devotional includes five weekly devotions for all ages, as well as illustrations to color and opportunities to doodle and engage with the content in fun and creative ways. The photos below can help give you a sense of some of the coloring opportunities in this devotional.
Christmas Shadow Box Theater
We are excited about this fabulous craft this year: our Christmas Shadow Box Theater. By following simple directions, you can build your Christmas Shadow Box Theater and use it to act out the story of Christmas using light and shadows.
This is a great supplemental activity for Sunday School, to use at an Advent festival or event, and for families with young children to help tell the Christmas story.
While our youngest participants may need some additional assistance with this year’s craft, it is something that all ages can participate in. And certainly, it is an activity that all ages will have fun playing with once it’s created.
– Jenna Campbell, Director of Children and Youth Ministry, First Presbyterian Church, Stillwater, OK
We also have this craft available for purchase as a standalone activity. You can purchase our Illustrated Christmas Shadow Box Theater, and find other crafts from past years, here.
Advent Activities for Families
While many Advent calendars today come with the promise of chocolates or toys behind each of the numbered doors, this Advent calendar is a little different. Our Advent calendar is more of an activity calendar — activities that can help you get into the Advent and Christmas spirit.
Some of these activities will be great for your kids to do by themselves—others will require the whole family. And some activities require you to get out of your house and go into your community.
– Daniel Booker, Associate Pastor of Children & Families, Bethany Covenant Church
Each of the Advent calendar activities fits in with our theme of light and darkness and will help participants (of all ages) think about light and darkness and how it can affect how we think about Advent and Christmas.
Below are 3 sample activities from the Advent Calendar:
- When it is dark outside, lights and sparkles remind us to celebrate. Does your family use Christmas lights to light up your home or Christmas tree? What about glitter or tinsel? How many sparkly, reflective, shimmery, or flashing things can you find in your home? Set a timer for three minutes and see who can find the most LIGHT!
- Advent is a time of waiting and slowing down to think about life. But we are usually busy in December! Schedule a time during your day to do something slow. Read a book, write in your journal, meditate, or play with playdough. But do it verrryyyy sloooowwwlllyyy.
- Some people do not have access to electricity, so it can be tough for children to do their homework after dark. Find an organization that provides solar lamps to families with children and gift them with a donation.
– Kristine Nussbaum, Minster of Education, Kidron Mennonite Church
We hope you’ll take some time to check out An Illustrated Advent for Families: In Light & Darkness, and let us know if you have any questions. Whether you thought you were just looking for an Advent devotional for kids, or if you specifically wanted a family Advent devotional – our Illustrated Advent for Families has something for everyone.
– Hollie Friot, Church School Director, Barre Congregational Church (UCC)