It’s never too late (or too early) to start celebrating the true meaning of Christmas with your preschooler! At Truro Church and at all Anglican churches, we believe observing advent is a way to help us do that against all odds. Advent is “a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning ‘coming.’ Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas and lasts until Christmas Day.”
Even a two year old knows what it means to wait. We often associate waiting with discomfort and irritation but the kind of waiting that advent requires can be a more “expectant waiting.” Expectant waiting might feel like the final moments before you were released to open your presents on Christmas morning when you were little… or the night before your wedding…or the moment your plate is set on the table before an amazing meal with friends…or the smell of chocolate chip cookies about to come out of the oven.
Sometimes waiting is painful but sometimes it’s full of joyful expectancy. Kids understand that instinctively and waiting for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning to come is part of the wonder and magic of Christmas. For us as adults, it’s more complex, but can be just as meaningful. We wait for Christmas to come so we can celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, but we are also waiting for when Jesus comes again and in the words of The Jesus Storybook Bible, “makes all sad things come untrue.” We can invite our kids into looking forward to that too.
What can advent “waiting” look like for you and your preschooler, who may or may not be hyped up on sugar, lacking sleep and thrown by how all the worthy “fun” disrupts their routines and brings unpredictability. It’s probably not just your child who would love to slow down or even stop and just wait once in awhile.
Waiting can be active and loud or quiet and still but it doesn’t have to involve a lot of planning or crafting or Pinterest. It can be as simple as a walk outside or even through the mall looking for signs of Jesus: nativity decorations, the nature He’s made, the lights that remind us that Jesus is the light of the world and the wreaths that remind us that God’s love for us and our love for them is never ending like the circle it makes. It can be a few minutes reading a Christmas book or coloring some “Jesse Tree” ornaments (see below) together. While you color or walk or drive, it can be fun to wonder out loud what they think of Christmas and baby Jesus and what their favorite part of the story is and where they think they would be in the story. Sometimes lighting a candle (or candles) during dinner reminds us to slow down and notice that something special is happening.
In short, waiting can look like even a momentary pause from the mayhem that everyday life at Christmastime can bring. Try for even an occasional ten minute break with your child. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you. I’ve included some resources below that I hope will be inspiring or fun and most of all easy. I am praying that this advent season is full of unexpected rest and wonder and connection in your family.
If you and your family want to learn more about Advent and celebrate Christmas, please come to Truro for one or all of these events:
Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!
Truro Director of Family Ministries, mother of 4 TPK alumni, and former 10 year TPK Chapel teacher and caretaker of Tiny the turtle puppet
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones advent reading plan (a story a day and an ornament to color each day) | https://redheadjulie72.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/easy-advent-idea-with-the-jesus-storybook-bible/
Random Acts of kindness for kids: ideas for every day of advent (There are many. Here’s just one.) | https://wondermomwannabe.com/random-acts-kindness-christmas-calendar-kids/
Books and Music and other fun things:
Advent explanation video (for grown ups) | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S02KOlw7dlA
Traditional advent wreath with candles | https://www.amazon.com/Roman-Christmas-Advent-Candleholder-Candles/dp/B003AKF4D0/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1544144274&sr=8-8&keywords=advent+wreath+for+kids
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp | https://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Greatest-Gift-Interactive-Celebration/dp/1496427998/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1544142507&sr=8-2&keywords=unwrapping+the+greatest+gift+ann+voskamp
Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd Jones | https://www.amazon.com/Song-Stars-Christmas-Sally-Lloyd-Jones/dp/0310722918/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1544142742&sr=8-1&keywords=song+of+the+stars+by+sally+lloyd-jones
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11
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