Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down...
Many churches no longer have Advent services (oh no!) though they may hand out some type of Advent devotions. These are nice and are usually a small bit of scripture and then somebody's thoughts on the verse(s) or the season. The writings are usually pretty cool and adults enjoy them but they're really boring for kids.
I suggest Advent devotions with a bit of a twist. Life is pretty hectic before Christmas so I wouldn't plan too many activities but do something to create some new family or church Advent traditions.
Encourage families to:
- Make special Christmas cookies or candy that are only eaten when Advent devotions are read.
- Have materials or give a list of materials to make a family Advent wreath. (3 blue/purple candles, 1 pink candle, 1 white candle)
- Take time to talk about Jesus' family and then talk about Christmas memories.
- Hand out prayer spinner templates for the families. In each section they write a category of something/someone they'd like to pray for and somebody spins it every night to see who prays for what. This would also be a good time to teach families about popcorn prayers.
- Find some easy Christmas ornaments that can be made by the family. It would be really cool if every Advent the church suggested a different ornament. After a few years people will have some keepsakes. They can also be shared as gifts.
- Use salt dough to have each family create its own nativity scene according to specifically chosen Bible readings. They can do different pieces each week.
- Have families read the prophecies and scripture leading up to the birth of Christ and have the kids create a "paper doll" nativity.
If you're looking for a great Advent devotional to read with/to the kids, check this one out.