This fall our Sunday school theme was loving and serving others. So
when it came time to plan our children's Christmas program, we
wanted something that would help us focus on putting love into
action instead of focusing on ourselves.
So we began Advent with Family Ministry Night. We invited our
entire congregation to meet at the church at 6 p.m. on the first
Sunday in Advent. We formed several groups who went out to minister
to our community with these projects.
• Card Connection-One group took rubber stamps and supplies for
Christmas cards to a local homeless shelter. We provided stamps and
envelopes so residents could mail the cards to friends and
• Carols and Cookies-Another group went to a nursing home to sing
Christmas carols and serve cookies. A few families even brought
dogs to visit those who couldn't come to the gathering room.
• Bingo-At a senior center, a group of families played Bingo with
the residents and served root beer floats.
• Food for Everyone-One group went door-to-door collecting food for
our local food bank.
Each group ministered for about an hour. Then we all returned to
our church to share stories of how we were able to bring joy to
someone else's life that night. We ended the evening by singing
Christmas carols and enjoying punch and cookies.
As part of our birthday gift to Jesus, we encouraged children to
spend more time exploring God's Word.
From the Sunday after Thanksgiving until the Sunday before
Christmas, we gave children red or green construction paper "Bible
links" to add to our Christmas chain for each chapter of the Bible
Children hung their long chains on the church Christmas tree the
Sunday before Christmas. It was a beautiful, tangible reminder of
children's desire to focus on giving to Jesus during this
Hands-On Christmas Cards
Kids love to make these hands-on dove cards for Christmas. You'll
need thick white tempera paint, sturdy paper plates, gold or silver
glitter glue, pencil crayons or gel pens, black construction paper
or card stock (folded in half), glue, and wiggly craft eyes.
Pour the paint into a paper plate. Have children each lay their
palm in the paint. Make sure the child's entire palm is well-coated
to ensure a good print.
Spread fingers slightly and keep the thumb sticking out for a
clear dove print. Place the child's handprint on the cover of the
folded card. Allow the card to dry completely before
Once the print is ready, have children add pencil crayon or gel
pen writing, the wiggly eye, and glitter. Use yellow for the beak
and feet, and green for a sprig of olive or mistletoe with white
berries. Have kids write a Christmas message in white crayon or gel
pen on the inside of the card.
Advent Bulletin Boards
For Advent, our bulletin board committee came up with a wonderful
three-dimensional display using artificial garland and
Each Sunday in Advent, we lit another candle by adding batteries
to the candle and screwing in its bulb. We tacked an explanation of
each candle's color and significance to the bulletin board as we
set the candles aglow.
Each week in Advent, families stopped to admire the display and
to reflect on the information next to the newly lit candle.
This bulletin board was a great teaching tool and a beautiful
addition to our children's ministry decorations during
Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania