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November 19, 2013 / BTM

Teach Your Kids Something New This Advent

test2Are you looking for something new this Christmas season?

Perhaps you’re like us and have done many of the traditional advent activities with your children in past years.  If so, then this post is for you.  Why not teach something new and different this year to grow your children’s understanding of God as you anticipate His coming this advent?

I’ve found three different activities for you to consider for your family this year.

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corkboardadventJesus Fulfills Prophecy Advent Activity

Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies through his birth, life and death.  Jesus – and later his disciples – often used the proof of fulfilled prophecy to prove that Jesus was the Messiah.  This is an advent activity designed to introduce children to Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled through Jesus’ birth.   Each day, you will learn a new Old Testament prophecy that Jesus fulfilled, and you will learn just how difficult it is to fulfil prophecy on your own!

It’s simple to make and do.  The specific instructions are here.  The design (as shown left) is from here.  By Christmas day your children will know that Jesus’ birth was no mere accident or simple undertaking.  It involved God in every step.

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The Names of God

names of god treeGod uses numerous different names to describe Himself throughout the Bible.  It is sometimes easy to forget that the seemingly helpless babe in the manger is also the Almighty God of the Bible.  As you anticipate Christ’s birth – God with us – learn some of the names God uses to describe who He is.  You could write out these names on fancy paper and affix them to your tree (or a separate tree as illustrated in the picture to the right and described in this post.  You could alternatively hang them from your mantle with ribbon.

Focus on the Family also has a great advent activity guide that focuses on the names of God.  You could use these names for the activity mentioned above, or you could follow their suggested set of activities for advent.  If you’re like us, you might find their activities too time consuming to do one a day, so you could do a combination of the two ideas if that suits you better.

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The Old Testament Anticipates Jesus’ Birth – The Jesse Tree

jesse treeThe Jesse Tree was created as a way to illustrate how they Old Testament anticipates and builds towards Jesus’ birth.  The name comes from Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 11:1: “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”

Each day you’ll add a different decoration to your Jesse Tree that represents the meta story of God’s plan of salvation through the ancestors of Jesus.   Done correctly, it will illustrate God’s faithfulness to his promises over 4,000 years of history, starting with creation, continuing through the Old Testament and culminating with Jesus.

Patterns and suggestions for making the Jesse Tree ornaments are here.  You can add your decorations to your Christmas tree, or make or buy a separate tree like the one illustrated that comes from here.

The instructions for the readings are here.  Instead of using their Talk About suggestions, we talked about the link between the story and Jesus (ie: God’s salvation plan).  This link is not necessarily explicit in the text provided.

Whatever you choose to do this year, make sure you use your advent to prepare for Christ’s birth!

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Carrie / Nov 19 2013 4:35 pm

    Wow. Great ideas!

  2. Jennifer / Nov 19 2013 4:41 pm

    Thanks for hunting down all these great options for Advent! I really like the prophesy activity – if I can get my act together I think I will try that one this year. Jennifer

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