Advent Readings for the Very Young

In early November 2011 I began to think and pray about the Christmas season and how to help our little ones understand its meaning.  I also wanted to give them as a Christmas gift a manger scene that they could play with for a long time and use to reenact the story of the birth of Jesus. We finally chose one made by Playmobil(e). Then I went hunting for some Advent readings that we could use during Bible time each evening that the girls might understand. Ideally I wanted readings that would introduce the figures in the scene day-by-day, to build the sense of anticipation for Jesus’s coming and to help us take a closer look at the whole story together.

After some time of being unable to find just what we had in mind, Alex and I decided to write a series of Advent reflections for our girls. We found that planning and writing this series together led us to rejoice anew in the great gift of Jesus Christ. For each day of Advent we wrote an extremely brief reading and prayer to use as a family and then Alex planned Bible readings on the same themes for us to do together after the children were in bed. Though Advent often begins on the last Sunday in November, we will begin on December 1 and have 24 days of readings.

We have put the readings on this blog in case any readers are interested in using them as well. If you’re interested, please feel free–we’d love to have you join us.

Want to print the readings? Here is a PDF/complete printable text: Advent Readings For the Very Young

This is a list of the pieces we will introduce each day:
December 1. The (Empty) Stable: Waiting for Jesus Then and Now
December 2. The Green Plants: God is the Giver of Life and the Restorer of the World
December 3. The First Sheep: We Have All Gone Astray
December 4. The Lamb: Jesus Died to Save Us
December 5. The Lantern: Jesus Is the Light of the World
December 6. The First Wise Man: God Promised a Great King
December 7. The Second Wise Man: Jesus Is the Promised King–Over All the World
December 8. Mary: The Angel Comes to Mary
December 9. The First Angel: His Name Shall Be Jesus
December 10. The Dove: God Sends Jesus by the Holy Spirit
December 11. Joseph: The Angel Visits Joseph; Jesus Is Immanuel
December 12. The Donkey: The Journey to Bethlehem
December 13. The Cow: There Was No Room for Them in the Inn
December 14. The Second Sheep: The Lost Sheep: Jesus Came to Find Us
December 15. The First Shepherd: His Sheep Know His Voice
December 16. The Second Shepherd (or Shepherd’s Staff): The Shepherds Come to Jesus
December 17. The Second Angel (Angel’s Wand): Good News of Great Joy for All People
December 18. The Star: Jesus’ Birth Is a Cosmic Event
December 19. The Third Wise Man: The Whole World Needs to Hear About Jesus
December 20. The Camel: The Wise Men Come to Jesus
December 21. Gifts #1: The Wise Men Bring Gifts to Jesus the King
December 22. Gifts #2: Why Do We Give Gifts at Christmas?
December 23. The (Empty) Manger: Jesus the Servant King
December 24. The Baby Jesus: Jesus is Born!
December 25. {We read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke}


36 Responses to Advent Readings for the Very Young

  1. Pingback: Advent Readings for the Very (Very) Young: List of Themes | part of the main

  2. Angela, from S.D. says:

    Thank you for writing the Advent Readings for the Very (Very) Young. My family (and my 3 year old) enjoyed them. We hope to us them for the next few years, as it was a good way to introduce my 3 year to the true meaning of Christmas. Happy Holidays.

    • betsy says:

      Thank you, Angela, we’re so glad you enjoyed them! We learned a lot writing them and reading them to our three year old, too. Happy holidays to you!

  3. Pingback: happy Christmas | part of the main

  4. Nikki says:

    Oh goodness! I wish I would have seen these earlier. I’ve not been on my feed reader as much, and missed out. I tried to go through Ann Voskamp’s readings this year, which are wonderful, but waaaaay far over my little ones’ heads. :) I will remember this for next year. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Emily G. says:

    Wow, this is amazing! I was trying to find good, solid, biblical but easy to understand advent readings for my almost three year old. After hours of googling around the internet, I stumbled across your wonderful blog. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to do these and then share them so others can enjoy them, bless you! I am quite excited to do these with me daughter this Christmas. :)

  6. These days before Advent had been looking for readings and find a different way to make this special time with my kids. Thanks for sharing these stories and Bible readings. Your blog is a blessing. My kids will enjoy these Advent meditations.

  7. Emma says:

    Betsy, these are lovely, thank you for sharing xxx

  8. Jennifer says:

    This is wonderful. Do you think you could compile it all into one post or pdf so we can print it all at once?

    • betsy says:

      This is a great idea, Jennifer, and I should have done it. I plan to revise/improve the readings in the near future, and will try to compile them in one place then. If you plan to use them I am sorry to put you to the trouble of copy/paste/printing it all–I hope you still find them helpful.

      • Jennifer says:

        I definitely find them helpful-thank you! We’ve been using it with my 22 month old and our Little People Nativity-things don’t line up exactly but they’re close enough. Thank you so much for this wonderful resource!

  9. Thank you so much for posting this idea and all the readings! I found your blog from the link you posted on the feminagirls site. This activity has been an incredible blessing to our family! I wrapped each piece of the nativity set and every night we sit around the table, open the evening’s “gift,” and read the corresponding reading. I love the meaning this brings to the holiday season and it is such a great way to share our faith with our little ones (ages 3 and 2). Thanks again, Michelle.

    • betsy says:

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! We’re so blessed to know that the readings are useful to others with little ones. Enjoy this amazing season!

  10. Cindy says:

    When my children were young they loved Playmobile. I saved it all and now my 2 year old grandson plays with it. I have been thinking about how to do simple Advent devotions with him this year and came across this post. This inspired me to order the Playmobile Nativity set and use these devotions. They are perfect for us.

  11. Lori says:

    For HOURS I have been searching the web and amazon.com for a book of simple readings to use with our three children during Advent. I stumbled upon this, and it is exactly what I had in mind. Thank you for sharing this. What a blessing.

  12. Thank you so very much for sharing. I am mother of two boys, 2.5 years old and 9 months old. Coincidentally, I am also wife of a PhD student who (we hope) will finish in 2014. We will be using these readings this year. Blessings to you!

    • betsy says:

      Thank you so much for commenting, Morgan. I’m so glad you can use the readings! And press on with the PhD–I know what a task it can be–for you both. Blessings on your husband’s work–and on yours!

  13. Holly says:

    Hi! Did you buy the Playmobile Nativity & the Wisemen set? Wasn’t sure what all I needed to order! Thanks so much!! holly

    • betsy says:

      Hi Holly,
      We used the Playmobile nativity. You may want to check to see if it’s the biggest set, they have some smaller versions out there. Even the biggest nativity doesn’t come with the three wisemen and the camel, this is an extra little set. Hope this helps! Merry Christmas!

    • Cindy says:

      Holly, Maybe you already figured this out but I bought the Playmobile Nativity Set and did not realize the Wisemen came in a different set. Fortunately I was able to quickly find and order the Wisemen set and get it shipped fast. Just a tip for you or anyone else wondering about that!

  14. Ana says:

    Hello,
    Thank you very much, I have 3 kids all grown up and the outcome of there adult hood did not turn out very well (which puts me to tears every time I think of it). I am now guardian of my 3 year old grand daughter and I am really trying to give her a different type of teaching in life hoping that maybe things will be very different for her and that we can break the cycle of what happened with my kids. I started doing the advent calendar last year and the nativity barn but did not have any of this great stories to go with it or any animals or kings men. I will look for the Playmobile Nativity also. I am starting a day late with the story but it will be fine. I will also look into your Easter readings, Thank you so much!!

    Merry Christmas!

    • betsy says:

      Dear Ana,
      Thank you for this comment and for sharing your story. I can really identify with what you shared–because the truth is, we are all in the same situation. If we don’t have Jesus, it doesn’t matter what we do, how we were parented, or how we parent. We stand in desperate need of a savior from our sin and from ourselves. The good news is that there IS a savior, God sent him to that stable long ago for you, for me, and for your granddaughter. If you are seeking to help her on her life path, you are doing the best thing, the only thing, by pointing her to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. May God bless your efforts as you seek to do that this Christmas! I’ll be praying for you, your granddaughter, and for your children also.

  15. Katie says:

    Thank you for this! I’ve had a hard time finding a reading meant for preschool age children. Merry Christmas!:)

  16. Amy E says:

    Thanks for the Advent Readings! It was exactly what we were looking for. =)

  17. Annie says:

    Hi Betsy,

    Thank you so much for this. I was looking for something to do with my littles and this perfectly fit the bill. Thanks for all the effort you put into it and for sharing with us. I shared it on my facebook wall with the button you have at the bottom of the post. Hope that is okay.

    • betsy says:

      I’m delighted that the readings will help. You are very welcome to share it, that’s why we put it up–we’re so encouraged by others using it. Merry Christmas to you!

  18. David Vokoun says:

    Thanks for the post. I’ll be using these with my three (very) young children this year.

  19. Jason Bruce says:

    Betsy- I appreciate this post on Advent. I found it via Google search. My wife and I are using it with our two young kids. Very helpful in introducing them to the true story of Christmas. Simple, quick and well written. It deserves a bookmark. Keep on writing. You’re good at it. God bless you and your husband.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    This is great! Very well laid out . Good reading for my 7 year old, the whole family enjoyed!

  21. Heather says:

    Just wanted to thank you for these amazing advent readings! Thank you for taking the time to make them and to share them with us. :) we are going through them with our 6, 4 and 2 yr old boys and it’s great to have something to show them each day. We are really enjoying it! Thanks again :)

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