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Getting into the practice of daily prayer and the reading of Scripture with your family can be a challenge if you have never done it before. Advent presents you with the perfect opportunity to start building this habit. In the Advent wreath alone, you have the makings of wonder for your child. Why are there four candles (five if you count the Christ candle)? Why are there three purple candles and one pink (or maybe all blue or all white)? On top of that wonder, you engage your child’s senses as they see the fire, smell its aroma, and feel its heat.
So for you, rookie, or even you, long-time veteran, here is an easy-to-follow guide for leading Advent devotions in your home.
- An Advent wreath like this one here. More than likely, you can find one of these in any gift shop this time of year as well.
- An Advent devotional. If you have young children, I recommend Counting to Christmas.
- A hymnal—maybe Lutheran Service Book or My First Hymnal.
Step 1: Pick a time.
Once you have gathered your materials, you need to pick a time to do your devotions together at home. I lead my family’s devotions after dinner. With two little ones at home, it is the easiest time for us since we already have everyone corralled together. Your time and place may be different. What is important is that you have your family together.
Step 2: Light the Advent wreath.
Traditionally, you light the appropriate number of candles that match with the week of Advent that you are in. So if it is the second week of Advent, light two. If you have three purple candles and one pink candle, the pink candle is lit during the third week of Advent. Don’t fret over how perfect you are at lighting the candles or if you are doing it in the right order. If your children are young, they will marvel at the fire itself.
Step 3: Read your devotion.
Pull out your devotion and read through it. If you are using Counting to Christmas, you will notice that it starts with a devotion, then gives you a Scripture passage. Next, it has a question to ask your children, and, finally, a time for prayer. Just follow along. It will guide your time together.
Step 4: Sing!
Pick an Advent hymn and sing it with your family. Don’t worry if you are off-key, just sing! If you have really young children, I recommend singing the same hymn for an entire week. That way, they have the chance to learn a few stanzas and join in.
Step 5: Put out the candles.
You’ve done it! Keep doing this every day during Advent. By the end, you may have just formed a habit for your family that will be easy to continue throughout the year.
God’s blessings as you teach the faith once for all, delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
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