As Christmas approaches, it’s easy to get lost in the busyness of the holidays. We can easily forget the gospel roots of the Christmas story and the reason our Messiah came to earth. That’s why celebrating Advent—the season leading up to and encompassing Christmas—is a great way to stay in tune with the meaning of Christmas.
Some people like to use Advent calendars, which are 25-day “calendars” that provide a devotional or candy (or both!) for each day leading up to Christmas. I like to schedule activities for each day leading up to Christmas. Though mine are kid-friendly (I have a toddler and a newborn), many of these activities are just as much fun if you’re older. You can do them with your girlfriends, family or your boyfriend (they make great dates and conversation topics!). So without further ado, here are five Advent activities you can add to your schedule this Christmas.
1. Live Nativity. I’ll confess I’ve never been to a “normal” live nativity. I grew up attending a full-length nativity play put on by a local church, complete with a horse carriage ride, dancing angels and a real baby in the manger. As we walk through each part of Jesus’ story, I find that I’ve never outgrown the beauty of it. You can look into Christmas plays in your area and events hosted by local churches if a live nativity isn’t an option.
2. Daily Bible Reading. Advent is the perfect time to start a habit of daily Bible study. It’s a short season—only 25 days or so—and the readings are very straightforward. Advent readings are especially helpful to our theology because they usually start in Genesis and end in Matthew or Luke. Not only do you get the big picture of the Bible’s story, but you’re also reacquainted with the gospel narrative. You can search “Advent Bible reading plan” to find one that works for you!
3. Caroling. We don’t hear much about caroling anymore, and a lot of people don’t carol door to door like in days past. But getting a group together to carol at a local nursing home or even in your neighborhood can really bless your community. Choose songs that focus on the true meaning of Christmas (maybe not “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” this time!) and, in a sense, you will be presenting the gospel through song to those who hear you.
4. Take a Meal to a Local Family. This year for Thanksgiving, our small group brought a meal to a local family in need. I think this would be an awesome activity for Christmas, too! You can ask your church if they’re aware of any members of the church or community who could use a meal during the holiday season. Even if you don’t cook, you can buy the ingredients and bring them to the family. You can also get a few friends together and do the prep as a fun activity before delivery.
5. Christmas Eve Service. This is one of my favorite events during the Christmas holiday. Since many of us have family in town, a Christmas Eve service is a good way to expose unbelieving family members to the church and the gospel. If your church doesn’t do a Christmas Eve service, find another that does. Usually only an hour long, these services remind us of the beauty of the gospel; the coming of Emmanuel (God with us).
Add to these list with your own activities and schedule them into your calendar for an Advent full of meaning this holiday season!