I wasn’t raised celebrating Advent (or even going to church on Christmas Eve), but I’ve found Advent to be tremendously meaningful over the past 10 + years. I love focusing intentionally on Jesus throughout the month of December, both personally and with my family.
Family devotionals have never really been our thing. But I try the hardest during advent, and that’s the only time we’ve really made them work. For years – especially leading groups of college girls, and when I was trying to lead my own young kids in celebrating advent – I was desperate for Advent resources. I’ve tried lots of things, Jesse Trees, daily discussions, some really beautiful books. But daily things tend to get super overwhelming when I try to force them on my family. I can (and do) manage a daily devotional myself most days, because I badly need the space and quiet. But daily with the kids has always felt like a battle. Over the years, we cobbled together a simple weekly plan that worked for us.
I think this simple plan will work well for most friend groups, community gatherings or families.
I love having an advent wreath at the center of our celebration. A traditional advent wreath is a circle of greenery (fake or real), with spots for 4 tapered candles with a larger/taller candle in the middle. For years we used one like this, but if I were buying one now I would go with something more modern like this one. They sell pink and purple candles for advent wreaths, but the colors aren’t that meaningful to me and I like white better, so that’s what we use. For the last several years, we’ve used this beautiful creation, made by Ann Voskamp’s family which I got as a gift and LOVE. But honestly… you could just buy 4 small candles, with a tall candle for the Christ Candle, and it would be lovely.
We have celebrated Advent on Sunday over dinner most years, but I think you could do whatever day of the week works best.
And of course, you can also check out my Waiting on God Advent devotional, which is designed more for daily personal reflection (but does have weekly questions that would fit well with this simple Advent!)
The Amazon links above are affiliate links (I will receive a small kickback from Amazon if you end up purchasing these things, at no cost to you) – except for the links to my own book, which would be unethical I think?