How to Explain Advent to Kids

As we approach the Christmas season, we invite you and your family to participate in Advent! Below you will find information designed to help you explain Advent to your child.

What is Advent? Advent is the season that starts four Sundays before Christmas Day. This year, it begins on Sunday, November 29th. It is a season of preparation helping us reflect on the birth of Jesus and anticipate his return.

Advent is about two things:

  1. Anticipating Christmas :: Remembering that God become man and entered our world so that the world could know Him!
  2. Anticipating Christ’s Return :: Putting the story of baby Jesus in the broader context of the Big Story of God’s work in our world. The story doesn’t start and end with Jesus being born!

Two storytellers tell us about the night of Jesus’ birth. One is named Matthew, and his book is called Matthew (creative, I know!). He begins the story of Jesus’ life by telling the listeners and readers about Jesus’s family line. He rewinds all the way back to Abraham, showing that Jesus’ arrival fits within God’s whole plan for creation.

Luke tells us the same story but takes Jesus’ family line back even further to Adam! Both stories are saying: “Look! This is planned. It isn’t random. God’s words are true. God keeps His promises. We can count on God!”

Advent isn’t just about celebrating Christmas or just about baby Jesus. It is a reminder that God’s plans are big and good—Jesus coming is a part of a Big Story!

What is the “Big Story”? I am glad you asked!

Everything was Good: God created the world and said it was so good! It was full of shalom, the kind of peace that makes everything work, everything beautiful, and everything good. The world was made for human flourishing, where people would know and love God and one another forever! It was perfect!

The Big Whoops: God’s greatest enemy told a sneaky little lie and God’s good creation was ruined because Adam and Eve didn’t choose to believe God. The sneaky little lie continues to be whispered to us still, saying “God doesn’t love you” or “God doesn’t know best.” When we choose to believe this lie, we declare ourselves God’s enemy. We don’t often realize we are doing this because everyone around us does it, also. This is a big whoops!

The Great Rescue:  The penalty for sin is death, but God loved his creation so much that he decided to stand in the place of our penalty. He chose to become a person—he was named Jesus and born in a stinky stable surrounded by farm animals. He grew up and showed the world how to live like God desires. Jesus cared about people—even those who were hard to love, like the smelly, needy ones. Jesus obeyed God and trusted his words, even when it was hard. And when Jesus was 33 years old, he was killed on a cross because some important, powerful people didn’t like him and also didn’t like that so many people were following him. But Jesus didn’t stay dead! Our God is more powerful than death. He rose after 3 days! He paid the price for our sin! He rescued His creation!

So Much Hope: Jesus showed the world that that God loves His creation. His love is so extreme that he came to the rescue of a really messy story! He did this because he wants everyone to believe that God is real, trust his words, obey his instructions, love others, and work towards making this world as it should be. And in the end, God will purge the world of evil once and for all!

This story teaches us how to celebrate during the Christmas season. It teaches us to worship fully by choosing to celebrate our king with every breath. It teaches us to spend less because we have already been given the greatest gift: Jesus! It teaches us to give more just like Jesus did—he gave himself! Spend time with those you love! And finally, to love all by noticing the needs of others and doing something to help.

Click below to watch a short video with your kids about God’s Big Story by Gospel Project Kids. This year, we invite you and your family to participate in Advent in order to remember what God has done and anticipate what God is still doing in His great creation!

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