5-Minute a Day Christ-Centered Advent for Kids

Like many of you, I REALLY love the Christmas season. The music, the books, the food, the activities, the decorations. It's so easy for me to get caught up in all of those things. I start thinking about gifts and soon, I've gone down a rabbit hole of Amazon research, or suddenly I've wasted 2 hours looking into the best new Christmas books. Those are all fun things, but when they take so much time that I'm too tired and busy to even think about the reason for our celebrations, it's too much.


It's the same for our kids - there are so many parties and programs that it's easy to get burned out on FUN. It's easy for them (and us!) to get caught up in thinking about me, me, me - what I want, how I want to behave, what I want to do.

For our family, it's really important to me to make sure each day has at least a few minutes of peace, a few minutes to think about WHY December is so exciting to us, and the qualities we want that to inspire in our children. While I love to think about creating magic for them, I want THEM to think about making magic for OTHERS. I don't want them to just be tunnel-visioned toward the presents of Christmas morning, or all the fun things they have going on. Rather, I want them to think of those who are less fortunate.

I want them thinking of ways they can not only experience joy, but inspire it.

For us, this means taking time for the SCRIPTURES and for SERVICE. These are the two most important parts of our advent. Even if we didn't do any of the fun things, this is what I hope my children would remember, and I hope their memories of childhood Christmases revolve around these tenets.

                                        

Still, it's difficult to do elaborate service projects when time is constrained during the month. Everyone is busy - including places to give service! I don't want it to feel so overwhelming that we just throw in the towel. It needs to feel doable for our family with lots of little kids.

Over the years, I've developed a pretty good system for fitting in a manageable daily scripture and service. On average, it takes us about 5 minutes. On a good day, we'll include a Christmas song and picture book (list coming soon, along with a list of Christmas activities and traditions!). If we're rushed, we'll just include the former.

Light the World

For the past few years, our church has put together a Light the World campaign that included a scripture and small act of service (plus a short - usually about 30 seconds - video) each day. We've loved it and it's been such a meaningful part of our holiday celebrations. This year, it moved to a weekly format. I'm sure that's easier for many, but for us, weekly goals rarely work well. Like with exercise, it needs to be daily for it to happen for us, otherwise it just falls by the wayside. It's so much easier for me to do something every day than just some of the days! It also didn't include a scripture explaining the service, which we really liked.


So I rejiggered this year's Light the World calendar to include a service and scripture based on the weekly theme. We like to read the service scripture in the morning quickly before school (we do it over breakfast) so that we and the kids can be thinking of how to incorporate the service throughout the day (it's too easy to forget by the next morning if we do it before bed). Then at night, we read a short Christmas story scripture. We like to do it based on the alphabet (e.g., Day 1 is A is for Angel, Day 2 is B is for Bethlehem, etc.). I printed and cut these and put them in our little advent baggies.

We love the spirit this brings to our Christmas celebrations, and I hope it does for you, too!



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Morning Service ScriptureServiceSongAdvent Scripture
Saturday1Mosiah 2:17Light the WORLD: "that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."Think about problems abroad & decide which charity to support"Joy to the World"A—Angels (Luke 2:1–9)
Sunday2Psalm 100:2Light the WORLD: "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing."Purge & donate to refugee organization"With Wondering Awe"B—Bethlehem (Luke 2:10–15)
Monday3Matthew 25:36Light the WORLD: “[I was] naked and ye
clothed me”.
Donate to Camp Fire victims"Jingle Bells"C—Christ (2 Nephi 25:23, 26)
Tuesday4D&C 83:6Light the WORLD: "Widows and orphans shall be provided for"Make Christmas cards for orphans (orphanfrontier.org)"O, Come, All Ye Faithful"D—Deeds (1 John 3:18, 23–24)
Wednesday5Matthew 7:1Light the WORLD: “Judge not, that ye be
not judged.”
Give out 5 compliments & focus on being kind instead of right"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"E—Everlasting (John 3:16–17)
Thursday6Matthew 5:12Light the WORLD: “Rejoice, and be
exceeding glad.”
Keep a list of blessings today and say at least 5 thank yous"Away in a Manger"F—Family (Luke 2:16–17)
Friday7Matt. 7:12Light the WORLD: “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”Leave out a box of snacks/drinks/treats for delivery people"Good Christian Men, Rejoice"G—Gold (Matthew 2:1–11)
Saturday8Matt. 25:35Light Your COMMUNITY: “I was thirsty and ye gave me drink.”Put together ziploc bags with water/snacks to leave in car to hand out"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"H—Herod (Matthew 2:12–16)
Sunday9Matt. 10:8Light Your COMMUNITY: “Freely have ye received, freely give.”Leave a $10 bill in envelope outside someone's door"We Three Kings"I—Israel (Matthew 2:19–21)
Monday10Matthew 25:36Light Your COMMUNITY: “I was sick and ye visited me.”Caroling at a nursing home and hold the door open for someone"Silent Night"J—Joseph (Matthew 1:19–24)
Tuesday11Matt. 22:39Light Your COMMUNITY: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."Deliver neighbor gifts and learn one thing about each neighbor"Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"K—King (D&C 128:23)
Wednesday12Matt: 25:35Light Your COMMUNITY: “I was a stranger and ye took me in."Sit with a classmate who is eating alone"Once in Royal David's City"L—Lord (D&C 19:1; Isaiah 26:4)
Thursday13Luke 12:15Light Your COMMUNITY: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."Give 5 cheery hellos to different people"While Shepherds Watched their Flocks"M—Mary (Luke 1:27–38, 46–48)
Friday14Matt. 5:4Light Your COMMUNITY: “Blessed are they that mourn."Leave an anonymous nice note for someone at school (or leave a note & candybar on a windshield)"Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains"N—Nazareth (Matthew 2:22–23)
Saturday15Matthew 6:21Light Your FAMILY: “For where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Caroling & cider to raise money for UNICEF or other organization (post on social media)"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"O—Obedient (John 8:29; Hebrews 5:8–9)
Sunday161 Nep. 8:12Light Your FAMILY: "Wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also"Write a note to someone in your family to tell them something you love about them"Angels We Have Heard on High"P—Peace (Luke 2:14; Isaiah 9:6)
Monday17Isaiah 41:6Light Your FAMILY: "They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage."Help a family member with a chore (make breakfast?) and play a game together"The First Noel"Q—Quickly (D&C 49:28)
Tuesday183 Nep. 14:3Light Your FAMILY: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"Write down 10 positive things about a family member and try to imagine how God sees them"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"R—Redeemer (Job 19:25; Mormon 9:11–13)
Wednesday19Matt 15:4Light Your FAMILY: “Honor thy father and thy mother.”Ask your mom or dad a question about their childhood"Frosty the Snowman"S—Steadfastness (2 Nephi 26:8; 31:20)
Thursday20Romans 14:10Light Your FAMILY: "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."Have special one-on-one time with a parent or child"What Child Is This?"T—Teach (Matthew 28:18–20)
Friday21Matt. 5:7Light Your FAMILY: “Blessed are the
merciful.”
Make a card for a family member"O Little Town of Bethlehem"U—Unshaken faith (2 Nephi 31:19)
Saturday223 Nephi 18:15Light Your FAITH: “Ye must watch and
pray always.”
Say a prayer in which you only focus on others' needs"O Come O Come Emmanuel"V—Voice (Alma 5:38; Helaman 12:23)
Sunday23Matthew 12:12Light Your FAITH: "Wherefore it is lawful
to do well on the sabbath days.”
Attend a Christmas worship service and invite a friend"O Holy Night"W—Willing (Mosiah 26:17–18)
Monday243 Nephi 27:21Light Your FAITH: “That which ye have
seen me do, even that shall ye do.”
Call grandparents & tell them you love themSacred carolsY—Young (D&C 43:20)
Tuesday25Matthew 5:16Light Your FAITH: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”What do you like most about Jesus? Emulate that quality today.Sacred & fun songs!Z—Zion (1 Nephi 13:37)

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