Advent is a great chance to connect your Dwell time with Sunday worship! Including a special Advent activity each week reinforces the meaning of Advent that children are hearing in “big church,” in children’s ministry, and at home.
One simple way to do this is to create an Advent wreath for your Dwell space. On the first Sunday of Advent (December 1 this year) have the children help you make an Advent wreath for your classroom. A quick Google search will give you countless suggestions for making a wreath, but here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Purchase greens already shaped as a wreath and place four candles in candle holders or on an old plate in the middle. Heather Sleighthold has some great ideas for pulling Advent wreaths together from a variety of supplies in this post.
- Make 99¢ Advent wreaths. All you need is green modeling clay, small votive candles, and birthday candles! If you decide to make something bigger for your Dwell space, consider having the children each make one of these to take home. What an easy way for them to continue Advent with their families!
- Get a simple Advent candle holder, bring in some cut greens, and have the children help you arrange the greens around the holder and add the candles.
Once you have a plan for how you’re going to make your wreath, you’ll want to decide how you’re going to use it. Reformed Worship suggests four themes you can use with your Advent wreath. Personally, I like the Prophets, Angels, Shepherds, Magi (third option on the linked post) theme because it includes easy concepts for young kids. And bonus: if your church uses Children and Worship, you’ll be reinforcing the candle meanings the curriculum teaches.
Your candle lighting time can be as long or short as you want. The Reformed Worship article includes great Scripture passages and liturgies you could include with older children who can read. For younger children, I would keep things pretty simple. Here’s an example of what I might share with a Play or Imagine group of children:
- Week 1: Prophet Candle
Today we light the prophet candle. This candle reminds us of all the ways God promised he would send his Son, Jesus.
- Week 2: Angel Candle
Today we light the angel candle. This candle reminds us of the angel that appeared to Mary and Joseph, and how Mary and Joseph prepared for the birth of Jesus.
- Week 3: Shepherd Candle
Today we light the shepherd candle. This candle reminds us of the great joy the shepherds felt when they heard that Jesus was born.
- Week 4: Magi Candle
Today we light the candle that represents the wise men, who traveled far to worship Jesus. This candle reminds us that we too can worship Jesus.
Be sure to check out Faith Formation Ministries Advent resources list in the Family Faith Formation toolkit for other fun ways to incorporate Advent into your Dwell time. And share your finished Advent wreath on the Dwell Facebook group!