Celebrating Advent in Children’s Church is a great way to teach children about what Christmas really means. These are short lessons that will supplement other curriculum or activities and drama or choir practices you might do during this season. You could also use these lessons for mid-week classes. Each week until Christmas I will post a free Advent lesson for that week. If you want to do Advent, you should start this Sunday, November 26th.
Week 1 – Hope
Advent Wreath and Candles:
The advent wreath with four purple candles or three purple candles and one pink candle and one white candle in the middle is a great way to teach about the birth of Christ. The candles are lit every Sunday throughout Advent, and each week symbolizes something different.
Hope in the Bible has a different meaning then what children normally think. They may hope they’ll get their favorite toy for Christmas or that they’ll do well in school. But that’s not Scriptural hope. Hope in the Bible is the calm assurance that God will do what He says. Christ came to give us hope for salvation.
Talk to the children about what they hope to get for Christmas. Tell them about a gift you hoped to receive when you were a child, but you didn’t get that gift. You got something else instead. Explain that the hope Jesus gives is different. He gives us the hope of salvation. All we have to do is trust in Him. He will never let us down when we hope in Him.
Read Isaiah 7:14. In the Old Testament, God had told the prophets, long ago. that Jesus was coming. This gave them hope. Someday Immanuel, which means God with us, would come and save them from their sins.
Isaiah 7:14 (ICB) But the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and she will name him Immanuel.
God was telling them they could put their hope in God for salvation. Our hope for salvation comes from God because Jesus was born and died on the cross for our sins.
Activity: Use these object lessons while decorating a Christmas Tree for Kidmin. The tree decorating will continue through Advent. This week, decorate with the advent wreath in Children’s Church. You can also have the children make their own Advent wreaths or calendars.
Why are wreaths in a circle?
The circle symbolizes eternal life. Because Christ came to Earth, we have eternal life in Christ. He is our hope, and our hope is in Him.
Colossians 1:27 (ICB): God decided to let his people know this rich and glorious truth which he has for all people. This truth is Christ himself, who is in you. He is our only hope for glory.
It can also symbolize God’s unending love. We usually hang wreaths on the door to welcome guests just as Jesus welcomes us to have eternal life in Him. Wreaths are made out of evergreen symbolizing again everlasting life in Christ.
We have hope we will live with Jesus forever.
Mary gets pregnant. (Matthew 1:18-24; Luke 1:26-38)
Object: Show a book about pregnant woman, a pair of baby booties, or something that symbolizes having a baby.
Tell this story in your own words.
When a woman gets pregnant, it means she is having a baby. Every baby who is born has a mother and a father. When Mary became pregnant, it was different. For the first time in history, a woman became pregnant with a baby that didn’t have a father. That’s because this child is Jesus, the Son of God. He is our hope who is God with us.
Mary might have been afraid when the angel came and told her what happened. She had a fiancé and was planning to get married. Would Joseph believe her? Even if she was afraid, she showed her hope in God by what she said.
Luke 1:38 Mary said, “I am the servant girl of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!” Then the angel went away.
Just as Mary put her hope in God when she was afraid, we can put our hope in God when we’re afraid.
When Mary told Joseph, he was confused. He wanted to believe her, but something like this had never happened before. Even though he was confused, his hope was in God. He had a dream that night. An angel appeared to him and told him Mary was telling the truth.
Matthew 1:21 (ICB) She will give birth to a son. You will name the son Jesus. Give him that name because he will save his people from their sins.
Even when we are confused like Joseph, we can put our hope in God. He will never let us down.
That isn’t the end of the story. After Jesus was born, died, and rose again, He said He would come back again. We hope for the day He comes again. That is our blessed hope.
Titus 2:13 (NIRV) That’s how we should live as we wait for the blessed hope God has given us. We are waiting for Jesus Christ to appear in his glory. He is our great God and Savior.
End the lesson with a Christmas hymn as you light the first candle. O Come O Come Emmanuel is a good one for this lesson.