Here are some simple ways to bring Advent joy to children while helping them to learn about, and personalise, some of our rich faith traditions. Advent Calendars There are some beautiful religious calendars that can be purchased through Christian book shops – avoid the commercialised chocolate versions that feature toys and reindeers. Mary, Mary… If any season belongs to Mary, it is surely Advent. Go to prayer with Mary and ask her to give you her sense of conviction and eager anticipation of Jesus’ renewed presence in the world. Journey to Bethlehem Using the pieces of your family Nativity scene, set up the stable in your prayer space. Keep Jesus hidden. Place Mary, Joseph and the donkey in a remote location. Each day, the children move them closer to their final destination. Shepherds, sheep, and angels can all journey to Bethlehem, arriving at the stable on Christmas day when Jesus also appears. The Wise Men take longer, arriving on the Feast of the Epiphany. Advent Candle Using a tall candle marked with 24 lines to indicate the 24 days of December leading up to Christmas, light the candle each day for your family prayers. As the candle gets shorter, children can count the number of days left to Christmas by the number of lines visible on the candle. The Jesse Tree Each day of Advent, place a new ornament symbolising one of the Old Testament ancestors of Jesus (for example, Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah etc). Check out CathFamily’s Jesse Tree, complete with instructions, prayers and downloadable template. Advent Wreath The rich symbolism of an Advent Wreath connects families and churches to the sense of anticipation and joy of the season. CathFamily has some great options for your family to get involved with this ancient tradition.