How Will You Celebrate Advent?
The countdown to Christmas starts here
by Hannah Taylor
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the meaning of Advent, and how we celebrate it.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (How Will You Celebrate Advent?) and the means to display them.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Advent wreath with three candles and lights in the background’ and the means to show it in the background during the assembly. It is 5.24 minutes long and is available at: https://youtu.be/vFaXhg0eCNc
- Optional: you may wish to show the resources that are available at: https://tinyurl.com/5af3cn66 for the ‘Assembly’, Step 8, Slide 5.
- Have the YouTube video ‘Advent wreath with three candles and lights in the background’ showing on repeat in the background from the start of the assembly.
Explain that you are going to be speaking about one of your favourite times of year.
Give some clues about Advent, such as:
- it starts at the beginning of December
- it sometimes tastes good!
- it leads us up to an exciting day
- Ask the children, ‘Can anyone tell me what they think the assembly is about?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Explain that the assembly is about Advent, the countdown to Christmas and the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
- Advent is the start of the Christian year. Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God, and they celebrate the days leading up to his birth.
Advent always starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is sometimes in November and sometimes in December, depending on when Christmas Day falls. Many start celebrating from the beginning of Advent, but others celebrate from 1 December.
- In some traditions, people spend the first two weeks of Advent remembering Jesus’ promise to return and heal heaven and earth. Then, during the last two weeks of Advent, these communities think about Jesus’ birth.
- In other traditions, people focus on four topics – hope, peace, love and joy – one for each week leading up to Christmas. From 1 December, people may light Advent candles, prepare Advent wreaths, hold special church services or read specific Bible passages each day and pray.
- Ask the children, ‘Does anything else exciting happen on 1 December? Maybe something that leads to a tasty treat?’
Listen to a range of responses.
- Agree that many people have Advent calendars – 24 wonderful windows that we can open to reveal something special inside. Some are filled with lovely pictures; others contain a little treat such as chocolate. The first ever Advent calendar was made in Germany in 1851 and was completely handmade.
- Advent is a wonderful time to celebrate with our friends, family and classmates. There are lots of ways we can do this.
Ask the children, ‘How can we celebrate Advent at home?’
Show the slides to give suggestions.
- Slide 1: make your own Advent calendar.
- Slide 2: make an Advent song or poem.
- Slide 3: light coloured candles with an adult or use LED candles.
- Slide 4: make an Advent wreath.
- Slide 5: take part in an active Advent calendar. Each child can think of a fun activity to do for each day of Advent and then complete all of them with their classmates. (Optional: you may wish to show the resources that are available at: https://tinyurl.com/5af3cn66)
- Slide 6: carry out 24 acts of kindness. Think of 24 kind things that you could do for the whole period of Advent.
- Suggest that the children think of different ways in which they might bring hope, peace, love and joy to people’s lives during Advent. For example, maybe they could organize an Advent party!
Time for reflection
Ask the children to close their eyes and think about what Advent means to them.
- What is it about Advent that makes it special and worth celebrating?
- How will the children celebrate this year?
Thank you for this Advent season.
Please help me to understand all that you have done for me.
Help me to love others as you do.
Please help me to bring hope, peace, love and joy to people’s lives during Advent.
‘Come, Jesus, prince of peace’, available at: https://youtu.be/UaWX-k11GWo (3.50 minutes long)