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Being Intentional This Advent Season Part 1 – Ideas for Younger Grandkids

Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications

As grandparents, we seek to be intentional and grasp every opportunity the Lord affords to share our faith with our families. Advent season is a prime time to accomplish this critical responsibility with joy!

This blog will cover some ways to be more purposeful this Advent, capturing and capitalizing on this season. In Part 1, we look into practical ideas to share Advent with younger grandchildren from preschool to elementary ages.

As we seek to discover ways to be intentional with our families, let’s first speak to what it means to be intentional. It is doing something on purpose with a purpose. It is deliberate, planned, and designed, making choices based on what is most important to you. It takes commitment, focus, and consideration of the result you desire. It is making conscious choices that lead to focused action. Naturally, we still always leave room for those serendipitous moments. Make plans but be alert to moments God opens for you. Sometimes they are the ones that make the greatest impact!

Below are ideas for the four weeks of Advent. Look through the list and see what resonates with you and your grandchildren. May God bless your Advent season, drawing you and your grandchildren closer to Him.

Week 1 – Promise

Scripture: Isaiah 7:14

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Ideas for Younger Grandkids:

Promise to do something with the grandchildren then follow through and do it. Keeping in mind the age of your grandchildren, make the fulfillment of the promise not immediate.

For instance, if you have very young grandchildren, you may promise to read a book to them or play dolls or trucks with them. Tell them you promise to do it in 10 minutes. For elementary age, you may promise to make cookies with them, go shopping, or take a trip to look at Christmas lights. Plan it out several days from when you make the promise.

As you spend time with your grandchildren, talk about what a promise is. Be sure to share God’s promise that He would send a special baby. Stress that nothing can stop God from keeping His promises. Share the promise in Isaiah 7:14. 

On Pinterest, you can find ideas for Jesse Tree ornaments and story stones which are great for elementary grandchildren to make. The Jesse Tree has ornaments with symbols having to do with the promise God made to send a Savior. The symbols start in the Old Testament and work to the New Testament with the birth of Jesus. Story stones are similar.

Enjoy this time, sharing how grateful you are that God keeps His promises!

Week 2 – Preparation

Scripture: Luke 1:30-31

“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus’.”

Ideas for Younger Grandkids:

If you have granddaughters, consider using an empty doll cradle. Talk about what is missing (the baby doll) and what are all the things a baby needs. Discuss how we prepare for a new baby. Chances are, they may have had this happen in their family. Was it hard to wait for the new sister or brother? What did they do to get ready for the new sibling? Were they excited? Did they help choose the name? Steer the conversation to how hard it had been for the Israel nation to wait (and they had waited a very long time)!

For young preschoolers, making a paper chain, marking a calendar, or following an Advent calendar are great ways to help this waiting period before Christmas to pass. You can also take 24 colored paper strips and write on them an activity to do or a verse to read. Then each day, have the grandchild tear one off, accomplishing what is written. You could do the same thing with a blank calendar and write in the activity or verse. Each day, have the grandchild cross off the block.

Another idea is having the grandchildren help you decorate your home. Talk about the things you do preparing for the holiday. If special guests are coming for the holidays, this gives you a wonderful opportunity to talk about the special baby that was coming – Jesus.

“To prepare our hearts for Christmas, we must cultivate the spirit of expectancy.” – Handall H. Brown

Week 3 – Proclamation

Scripture: Micah 5:2

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Luke 2:1-20 (v. 10-12)

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’.”

Ideas for Younger Grandkids:

If you used the empty cradle the previous week, have a new baby doll in the cradle. If your granddaughters react like mine, they will be excited!! They will lift the baby out and hug it close to them. You could even have strips of cloth and have them swaddle the baby. You may want to have them pretend to go on a walk to Bethlehem. Have items staged inside or outside your home that tell the story of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem. Think through the sounds, smells, and sights they might have experienced. The last place you stop is where the cradle with the baby is found. To add excitement, do it in the early evening just before the stars are visible. As the stars come out, let them know these are the same stars that the shepherds saw all those years ago!

For elementary-age grandkids, you could make a birthday cake or cupcakes. Ask them to invite a few friends over and celebrate the birth of Jesus with them. You could read or tell the story from Luke 2. Discuss that while Jesus was a baby, He could not do a lot just like their baby sister or brother. There was coming a day when this special baby would be able to do miraculous things. This baby not only made His family happy but an entire nation and ultimately the entire world.

“If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: ‘God with us’.”  – John MacArthur

Week 4 – Presentation

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-2, 11

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Ideas for Younger Grandkids:

If your grandchildren have experienced the birth of a younger sibling, talk about how people came to see the new baby. Sometimes family and friends traveled a long distance to come visit, often bringing gifts with them. Point out that people came from a long distance to see the special child Jesus who had been born.

Talk about ways they can worship as well as what it means to adore someone. Teach them a Christmas song. Encourage the elementary age to memorize one of the verses connected with the Christmas story. Help them think through ways that they can serve the Lord whether it is picking up toys in the nursery or bulletins after a church service, moving chairs, or offering a smiling face. Have them thank God for sending Jesus.

Discuss why we give gifts. How do we choose who we give gifts? How do we decide what we give them? How do they accept our gifts? Seek to connect those answers to God who knows our needs, loves us so much, and gives the very best of gifts. All we need to do is accept God’s great gifts, especially Jesus.

“All the Christmas presents in the world are worth nothing without the presence of Christ.” – David Jeremiah

Conclusion

May these ideas help you point your grandchildren to the true “reason for the season.” In Part Two of this blog, we will discuss ways to celebrate with our older grandchildren.

More to explore

The Truth Will Set You Free

The weight of a grandparent’s role can be felt immensely. We hold the stories of the past, the wisdom of experience, and a fierce love for the next generation.

Grandparent, Teach Me to Pray (Part 2)

Part 1 of this blog shared four things to keep in mind as you seek to pass prayer on to your grandkids. Here in Part 2, we’ll look at some specific techniques for helping grandchildren learn what to pray for.

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