If you’re a formation leader for any age or a parent who loves to plan your family’s faith life at home, I encourage you to join Forma – The Network for Christian Formation’s Facebook page. A post from the group a few days ago reminded me: what am I doing for Advent with my youth group? Of course, I should have been thinking about this weeks ago. But here I am, scrolling through the list of ideas and putting together my Advent care package. But it’s not too late, especially in God’s time.
- The first item in the care package is an Advent devotional called Waiting and Watching: Advent Word Reflections. Every day in Advent, we will focus on a different word and carry that word through our day with the help of daily meditations, images, and a coloring poster. The words all come from the scripture we will hear or read each Sunday in Advent. Choosing these Advent words with other formation leaders reminded me of the power and deep meaning in the words of our faith. As one of the authors, I can’t wait to share this book with my youth.
- The Waiting and Watching: Advent Word Poster by Sibyl Macbeth beautifully accompanies the devotional. There’s space to color, write, draw, and let the spirit speak through your creativity. I love the amount of space available, along with things to color. My friend Sandra Montes mentioned that it could be made bilingual and multilingual by writing in the Advent words in other languages. I’m learning Korean right now, so I might try writing some in Korean along with Spanish.
- One idea from the Forma group is this paper Advent wreath, part of the Advent-in-a-box Building Faith post. I love the simplicity of this wreath. I’m including both real and LED candles. We’ve done a wreath building station after church for many years using fresh greenery, and many of our youth still have the wreaths they’ve made in the past. Now they can have their own compact wreath they can keep in their rooms.
- My youth group uses the Journeying the Way of Love Advent curriculum by Jenifer Gamber and Becky Zartman. Each week, we use the readings and a few of the questions plus Godly Play wondering questions and the Advent calendar. I’ll include a print out because too much screen time is more real now than ever. And I mean that literally!
- To prepare for Jesus’ birth, I’m including the Nativity Scene (Joyfully Expanded) from Made by Joel along with a gold metal tin for storage. I loved the gold tins because they evoke the Godly Play parable boxes. We’ve used this nativity scene before, but I know where mine is – in the youth room at church. Cutting and coloring each piece is very relaxing, and you can meditate on each member of the scene as you create.
- To accompany words, prayers, coloring, and waiting, I’ll add some Equal Exchange Organic Hot Cocoa. My daughter Jaiya loves this cocoa because it’s organic, fair trade, and delicious. Each teen will get a tin to share with their families. Or not. Thanks, Allison Liles, for sharing what’s going into your church’s Advent bag. Hot chocolate is a great suggestion!
- No Advent kit would be complete for my youth without the Slow down. Quiet. It’s Advent. coloring calendar illustrated by Jay Sidebotham. We’ve given them to people in our congregation for years, and my youth would text and ask where it was if I left it out. Yes, they will be coloring a lot. That’s how they like it!
- Markers and colored pencils will restock their art supply collection.
There’s so much more I could include, but as one person said in the Forma group – some folks are over-resourced, as in there’s just too much sometimes. Keep it as simple or elaborate as you like. You know your kids and youth. Be as generous and thoughtful to their needs as you are able. They will be so happy to receive whatever you prepare for them, especially when those boxes are filled with all of the love and care you feel for these our beloveds.
Peace, and Advent blessings!
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