Enjoy this Advent lesson plan, suitable for children in grades 4–6.
The children will be able to
describe when the liturgical year begins.
describe Advent as a time to learn to wait in hope for the risen Jesus to come in glory.
Discuss with the children their experiences of waiting for an important day such as their birthdays or the start of a vacation. Ask: Do you do anything special while waiting for one these days? (birthday—giving hints about presents you might like; vacation—reading about places to visit)
Say: We also prepare for visitors. We don’t just sit and wait for our visitors to come—we prepare for them. How do you and your family prepare when you expect visitors? (tidy the house, plan and go shopping for meals) Continue by saying: During the four weeks of Advent, the Church invites us to prepare to welcome Jesus at Christmas. We wait for him as people of long ago did because he is our loving Savior. We celebrate his birthday by welcoming him into our hearts. When Christ lives in our hearts, we are filled with grace. His grace helps us share more deeply in his own life so that we become more like him.
Pass out Student Handout A, Advent and Christmas. Explain that we use calendars when waiting for things because they help us track the passage of time. Tell the children that today they will learn about the special calendar the Church uses to track the passage of time. Ask them to read Student Handout A silently. While they are reading, write the following questions on the board:
What is the most important Church feast day? (Easter)
What do we call the Church year? (the liturgical year)
When does the Church year begin? (the first Sunday of Advent)
How do we know when the first Sunday of Advent is each year? (We count back four Sundays before December 25.)
What colors do we see in Church during Advent? (violet or dark blue)
What are we waiting for in Advent? (the risen Jesus to come in glory)
After the children have finished reading the handout, ask them to take out a sheet of paper and write their answers to the six questions on the board. When they have finished, have them exchange papers with a partner and review each other’s answers. Then ask for volunteers to answer the questions for the whole class.
Pass out Student Handout B, Make an Advent Calendar, and have the children fill out the Advent calendar for the current year. Give them time to think about one special thing they might do each day.
Lead the children in the Prayer Service found on Student Handout C. After the reading from Isaiah, allow a few moments for silent reflection. Ask the children to reflect on the following questions:
What kind of mountains keep Jesus and his Light away from us?
How can we break down those mountains within our hearts?
What should we do to fill up the valleys?
What else do you want to say to Jesus?
Then continue with the remainder of the prayer service. Conclude with “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” or another song.
Print out the Family Handout, Advent Preparations, and have the young people take it home to share with their families.
1. Use the following Scripture hunt game to help the children get acquainted with the people who prepared in a special way for the coming of Christ.
|WHO AM I?||READ to find||ANSWER|
|The father of John the Baptist||Luke 1:13||Zechariah|
|The angel who told Mary she was to be the mother of Jesus||Luke 1:26||Gabriel|
|A famous ancestor of Jesus; a king||Luke 1:27||David|
|Went to visit Elizabeth to help her||Luke 1:39–40||Mary|
|Husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus||Luke 1:27||Joseph|
|The wife of Joseph and mother of Jesus, the Son of God||Luke 1:26–27||Mary|
2. Let the children dramatize the Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38).
3. Propose to the children that their family might hold a family meeting to decide what they will do to prepare for the coming of Christ. They might plan a family “Keep Christ in Christmas” campaign.