This past Advent season our family committed to doing the “Advent Guide for Families” devotional book that was created by Trevecca Okholm. I really enjoyed the time we spent each evening as a family walking through the story of Jesus’s birth. I will admit that it was a learning experience for us, especially when it came to keeping our four year old son Liam engaged so I wanted to share a few things we tried along the way that were helpful. I would love to know what worked for your families in making your devotional time successful.
1.) Children Love Fire (The use of a good visual aide can be effective!)
The first week of Advent we didn’t have our Advent wreath and the devotional has limited photographs. Liam became bored during the readings unless we were reading the suggested Jesus Storybook Bible passages that had colorful photographs. When our Advent wreath arrived it allowed us to create a space that had meaning and Liam loved getting to “hush” the candles each night.
2.) Let Your Children Hold You Accountable
We were not always consistent in doing the devotional each night. Between illness and family holiday schedules it was difficult to sit down at the end of the day when
Liam everyone was ready for bed. During the third week Liam began to ask if we were going to do our devotional and I was encouraged by this! I asked him to be in charge of reminding us which he loved.
3.) Repeating Prayers
The book suggests reading the bible out loud as a family but since Liam is not at reading age we had him repeat the prayers that were provided each day. The prayers were brief and easy to follow so I found this to be one of the most helpful ways we could keep him engaged.
4.) Look, There’s Jesus!
The most challenging part of the devotional for us were the discussion questions. I think they are great for older children but we struggled wording them in a way that Liam could understand. One evening when we were at Hobby Lobby trying to finish up some Christmas errands I noticed Liam staring at the wall before he yelled, “Look, there’s Jesus!” In front of him was a large portrait of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus. It was a good reminder that we can look for other ways to talk about Jesus everywhere and it doesn’t have to be limited to time in devotion.