Let's think of something to do while we're waiting
While we're waiting for something new to do.
Let's try to think up a song while we're waiting
That's liberating and will be true to you.
Fred Rogers wrote the music and lyrics to the song and he sang it on almost every episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood because he understood how hard it was for young children to wait. This is never more true than during the Advent season. Signs of the season surround us all and they come earlier and earlier each year, so that the wait seems longer and longer to children who have a poor concept of time to begin with! Advent calendars are an excellent way to help children count down the days until Christmas. Best are the devices that help children wait constructively--offering suggestions of activities and pose questions to think about, thus giving meaning to the waiting that is Advent. One such instrument is an Advent Chain.
Below, see sample strips of an Advent Chain. Print the strips in two different colors--red and green, purple and white, purple and blue--whatever you'd like. (Copy and paste the text for the strips into a separate document. All of the odd-numbered strips should fit on one sheet; the even numbered strips on a second sheet of paper.) Cut the strips apart on the lines, one strip at a time. Bring the ends around to form a loop and staple, glue or tape to fasten. Alternate the strips from the two colored pages and link before fastening to create a festive chain. (The strips are numbered to help keep them in order. Cutting one strip away from the sheet at a time also helps keep the sequence straight. The Scripture readings are based on the New Common Lectionary and relate to specific Sundays.) You might want to edit the content to include church activities on specific days.
These chains could be made by the children at church school or at home. Younger children may need some help. Have fun making the chains with your boys and girls as they find something to do while they're waiting.
1. Sunday, November 27, 2011 – The First Sunday in Advent - Make this Advent Chain and hang it in your home. Use it to count the days until Jesus’ Birthday.
3. Tuesday, November 29, 2011 – Spread peanut butter on a pine cone and roll in bird seed. Hang outside and share the generosity of Christmas with the wild birds.
5. Thursday, December 1, 2011 – Ask an older member of your family to share with you one of their favorite Advent traditions.
7. Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 – Clean out your toy box and give those toys you no longer use to someone who would enjoy them. Put the toys you want to keep away neatly.
9. Monday, Dec. 5, 2011 – Read the story of John the Baptist in the Bible again (Mark 1:1-8). Draw a picture of John the Baptist in his rough camelhair robe and leather belt.
11. Wednesday, December 7, 2011 – Ask a grownup to share with you a Christmas story or tradition from a culture other than your own.
13. Friday, December 9, 2011 – Share the love of Christmas. Give a hug to someone in your family today. Wish them a Happy Advent!
15. Sunday, December 11, 2011 – Read Psalm 126:3. Share something great that God has done for you today. Thank-you, God!
17. Tuesday, December 13, 2011 – Ask what you can do to help get your home ready for Christmas, then do it!
19. Thurs., Dec. 15, 2011 – Take a walk or a drive with your family after dark and look at all of the Christmas lights. Your neighborhood is getting ready for Christmas, too!
21. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 – Make and mail a Christmas card to someone you love who lives far away. Say, “Merry Christmas!”
23. Monday, December 19, 2011 – Listen to some Christmas music. Sing along if you know the words, or make up your own song about getting ready for Christmas.
25. Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – Make a Christmas ornament or decoration and hang it on your tree or in your home.
27. Friday, December 23, 2011 – Take a Christmas treat to a neighbor or friend and wish them a Merry Christmas!
29. Sunday, December 25, 2011 – The long wait is over!! Happy Birthday, Jesus, and Merry, Merry Christmas!!
4. Wed., Nov. 30, 2011 – Advent means “coming.” The season of Advent is the time we get ready for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Name one thing you can do to get ready for Christmas.
6. Friday, December 2, 2011 – Make a wish list of gifts you’d like to GIVE this Christmas. What gift would you give the baby Jesus if you had been at the manger that first Christmas?
8. Sunday, December 4, 2011 – Read Mark 1:1-8. The next time you’re at church, ask your pastor to show you the baptismal font or baptistery where people are baptized in your church.
10. Tuesday, December 6, 2011 – Think about the things that make you the happiest. Do something nice for a member of your family to share the joy of Christmas.
12. Thursday, December 8, 2011 – Call a relative or friend that lives far away on the phone and tell them what you’re doing while you wait for Christmas. Ask for a grown-up’s help if you need it.
14. Saturday, December 10, 2011 – Make Christmas cookies and take some of them to your local fire or police station to thank those who serve your community and wish them a Merry Christmas.
16. Monday, December 12, 2011 – Gather up some canned food and donate it to your local food bank so that everyone will have enough to eat this Christmas.
18. Wed., Dec. 14, 2011 – Look at a picture of a shepherd. What is the shepherd holding? What Christmas candy does the shepherd’s crook look like? Thank God for shepherds & candy canes!
20. Friday, December 16, 2011 – What is your favorite Christmas movie? Watch a Christmas movie with your family.
24. Tuesday, December 20, 2011 – There were animals in the stable where Jesus was born. What kinds of animals do you imagine were there? Can you make the animals’ sounds?
26. Thursday, December 22, 2011 – Read a Christmas storybook with someone you love. Ask that person what his or her favorite part of the book is.
28. Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011 – Read Luke 2. If you can, go to Christmas Eve church services and thank God for the gift of Jesus. Christmas is almost here!