Last year, the Advent season was full of uncertainty and grief. While the pandemic was still surging, church and ministry leaders found themselves unsure of how to meet families in such a trying season. Families themselves most likely experienced a Christmas season like no other.
I remember feeling at a loss in the fall of 2020 trying to plan for Advent at our church. So much was unknown, and it was hard to know how to provide families with what they needed. There was hope that we would be able to hold our normal events in person, but as the weeks went by it became more apparent that this would not be possible. We know that as Children’s Ministers, we have to plan quickly for whatever is coming. Many of us found ourselves scrambling to adjust plans for our Advent programs, and many of us experienced a quieter Advent than normal.
As Children’s Ministers, we all have a desire to help children and families connect with the message of God’s love through the birth of Jesus. The joy of getting ready for Christmas each year is real, from decorations, lights, and gifts to fun moments with family and friends. But the aspect of Christmas we pray lasts with those we minister to is the hope, love, and peace from the greatest story ever told. Advent is such a special time to help children and families focus on these things.
This year we’ve created a resource to help make planning for Advent easier. Meaningful moments for Advent can happen both at church and at home. With this resource, children and families will be able to hear Advent stories and participate in Advent prayers and liturgies. The guide also includes coloring pages for the special words of Advent, and links to five Advent videos on Amplify.
This Advent guide is adaptable so that you can use it within your ministry in many different ways. Here are some ideas:
- Email the PDF to families in your ministry, or link to the guide on your website or social media.
- Print out the guide for families to take home on Sunday mornings.
- If you have an Advent wreath-making event, include this guide to help families engage with their wreaths at home.
- Send home one week at a time, including the activity page and coloring page for the week.
- Post questions from the guide on your social media accounts.
- Adapt the activities and prayers for your Sunday morning or weekday programs.
- Encourage families to share with you the ways they are celebrating Advent.
However you choose to use this guide, we pray that it will help you minister to families during Advent.