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How to help children grasp what Advent means

A family devotional for the season

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December 9, 2021

The word advent means arrival. For kids it may mean the never-ending weeks before the arrival of Christmas gifts. 

But the season of Advent is when Christians remember the long-awaited arrival of the Messiah. During these weeks, as we look forward to Christmas, we stand in the sandals of those who waited centuries for the arrival of the One God had prophesied would come. 

One of these prophets was Isaiah. His prophecy spans 66 chapters and contains over 37,000 words in English. Isaiah uses some of his words to paint pictures — flocks and fruit, roots and roads, swimmers and shepherds. He helps us see the real-world connections between God’s truth and God’s world. 

The Advent devotional Wonders of His Love: Finding Jesus in Isaiah will help your family visualize the main portrait Isaiah paints — of the promised and long-awaited Messiah. 

In each week of this family devotional, there are five short devotionals to read aloud. Each one is intended for even little children to grasp. You’ll also find fun bonus sections, as well as crafts and activities to help make family memories together. 

I hope this family devotional will help you prepare for celebrating the arrival of the Messiah — and as you prepare, for delighting in the wonders of his love.

An example excerpt 

The following is an excerpt from this resource. It includes a reading from the third week of this Advent devotional as well as family discussion questions. You can also download these sample spreads that will give you a taste of what the devotional is like.

During the third week of Advent, families reading this devotional together will be reminded of that week’s theme: Jesus Is the Good Shepherd and He Carries Us Close.

Day One: Jesus Leads Us Gently

He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. Isaiah 40:11 NLT 

When someone comes back from the store with food for a Christmas party, isn’t it fun to help carry in the bags full of Christmas snacks and surprises! 

If you’re a good helper, do you carry everything the same way? 

What if you set down the eggs like you’d throw down the paper towels? What if you held a bunch of tomatoes just like you would a bag of potatoes? What if you grabbed the bread like a can of soup? 

There might be a mess and another trip to the store. 

But think for a moment, how you would hold a baby. Not like potatoes, not like tomatoes. And not like bread or eggs. As a good helper, you’d be careful and gentle. Soft but strong. Why? 

Because little babies can’t protect themselves. And they aren’t strong enough to hold on for themselves. So when they need to be carried, you pick them up. And when they’re crying, you hold them securely. And even when they’re heavy, you just don’t quit. 

Did you know that this is how the Lord treats his people? In the Bible, we read how God’s people decided not to obey God anymore. The Bible describes them as sheep wandering away from their shepherd. 

Even when his people wandered, the Lord promised that he would still take care of them: “He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young” (Isaiah 40:11 NLT). 

Questions 

Have you ever wandered away from the Lord — doing your own thing? 

How do you think the Lord thought about you when you wandered from him?

This blog post is adapted from “Wonders of His Love: Finding Jesus in Isaiah—A Family Advent Devotional” by Champ Thornton (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2021). Used by permission.

Champ Thornton

Champ Thornton (Ph.D.) is an acquisitions editor at Crossway. He and his wife, Robben, live in Newark, Delaware, have been married since 1996, and enjoy being parents to three energetic teenage children. He’s the author of numbers of books for kids and families, including The Radical Book for Kids, The Serpent Slayer and … Read More