Why not make an Advent candle? You will need a tall, brightly colored candle. Mark it with 24 short lines from top to bottom. Each day during Advent find a few quiet moments with your family when you can light the candle, read the little thought for the day, and say the short prayer together.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your love. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
1st Day of Advent
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun, the moon, the stars and all the plants and animals.
2nd Day of Advent
God then created man and woman. He trusted them to take care of his creation and follow his ways but they let him down.
3rd Day of Advent
As men and women multiplied, so did their sinfulness. There were some good people, and one of them, Noah, was told by God to build an ark on dry land to save himself and all living things from a flood which was to come.
4th Day of Advent
Noah did as God told him and built the ark. The great flood came but Noah and his family and all the animals which they had taken into the ark were safe. They did not drown and when the waters subsided they left the ark and populated the world again.
5th Day of Advent
Many hundreds of years later, there lived a descendant of Noah called Abraham. Abraham obeyed God when he was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. At the last moment God stopped him harming Isaac. In return for Abraham's obedience, God promised his that his family would increase and spread. >From his line a Savior would come for all people.
6th Day of Advent
When Isaac was grown up, Abraham sent out a servant to find a wife for him. The servant met a young woman at a spring; she drew water for him and for his camels. Her name was Rebekah and she became Isaac's wife.
7th Day of Advent
Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Once, while Jacob was asleep, he saw in a dream a ladder set upon earth and reaching all the way to heaven. The angels of God were going up and down it. And he heard the voice of God promising to give him the land on which he lay and to send the Redeemer of the world through his family.
8th Day of Advent
Jacob had twelve sons but he liked Joseph best of all. The rest of the brothers became envious of Joseph and tried to get rid of him. They sold him to merchants who were passing by and told their father that Joseph had been killed by wild animals. The merchants took Joseph with them to Egypt.
9th Day of Advent
Joseph did well in Egypt and eventually become an important advisor to the king of Egypt, the Pharaoh. Meanwhile, many of his people and their families came to live in Egypt and settled there. A long time after Joseph died, when a new Pharaoh was in power, an order went out that all male sons of the Hebrews (Joseph's people) had to be killed. One such baby, Moses, was rescued from death by being found in the bulrushes by the king's daughter, who took him in and looked after him.
10th Day of Advent
When Moses grew up he left Egypt, but whilst looking after sheep, he saw a bush on fire and from the middle of it he heard the voice of God telling him to return to Egypt and deliver his people from slavery. So Moses went back to Egypt and led his people out through the wilderness and the Red Sea. When they reached a mountain called Sinai, Moses spent time alone with God and then proclaimed the Ten Commandments.
11th Day of Advent
Moses then led his people further through the wilderness. They got very thirsty and began to grumble about Moses, forgetting that God had promised to be with them always. God told Moses to strike a certain rock to find water, he did this and water came pouring out. The people were saved from dying of thirst.
12th Day of Advent
For a very long time Moses continued to lead his people on through the wilderness and also through countries full of fruit. All the time they were looking for the promised land and a pillar of cloud guided them all the way.
13th Day of Advent
As Moses and his people drew near to the promised land, the Lord showed it to Moses from the top of a mountain. Moses died before he came down from that mountain and so he never set foot in the promised land, although he had indeed taken his people all the way from slavery in Egypt to the very borders of where they were to settle. He had done what God had asked of him.
14th Day of Advent
The people of Israel arrived at the promised land but when they came to the city of Jericho they could not enter it because it was fortified by strong walls and the people living there would not let them in. Joshua, the new leader, told the priests to carry the ark of the covenant which contained the Ten Commandments of God at the head of a procession around the walls. They blew trumpets and all the people shouted, and the walls came tumbling down. The people of Israel entered Jericho as God had promised.
15th Day of Advent
The people divided the land amongst their twelve tribes (each tribe descended from one of Jacob's sons) and they elected kings. One of them, King Saul, was disobedient to God and God sent his prophet Samuel to name a new king. Samuel chose David, a young shepherd boy.
16th Day of Advent
When Saul died, David became king and ruled successfully for many years. During his time he moved his court to Jerusalem. It was here that he decided that after he died, his son, Solomon was to be king. It is believed that many of the Psalms which we read in the Old Testament are from this time.
17th Day of Advent
Solomon ruled with great wisdom and prudence. Under his leadership the people of Israel grew very prosperous and successful. Solomon built the first Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem but in spite of this, God's people became forgetful of God and all his goodness to them.
18th Day of Advent
The people of God grew self-centered and greedy. They forgot that God had promised to send them a Savior and many of them lost their faith. God sent many prophets to warn his people about the dangers of the way in which they were living. Sometimes the people took notice, but very often they ignored what the prophets said to them and continued to ignore God.
19th Day of Advent
Many, many years later, a young girl, Mary, was living in the little town of Nazareth. She was to marry Joseph a local carpenter. Both Mary and Joseph were very good people. They both listened to God and tried to do all that he asked of them. An angel came to Mary and told her that she was to give birth to a son whose name was to be Jesus. He was the Son of God. Mary said, "Let it be done to me according to your word."
20th Day of Advent
The angel had told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth, was also expecting a baby. This was a surprise because Elizabeth was quite old but it was a sign that God is all-powerful. Mary went to see Elizabeth, and together they were able to share the great events that were happening to them. They praised God.
21st Day of Advent
Elizabeth gave birth to a son whose name was John. He was to prepare his people for the arrival of their Savior. John was the last of the prophets. When he was grown up he went to the river Jordan where he preached to the people and invited them to say sorry to God for the past and to begin again by being baptized.
22nd Day of Advent
When the time came for Mary to have her baby, an official decree had been issued by the government which said that everyone had to return to their own city to register. Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem.
23rd Day of Advent
Bethlehem was known as the city of David after King David and it was very overcrowded with visitors who had come to be registered. Mary and Joseph couldn't find anywhere to stay and they had to shelter for the night in a stable behind an inn.
24th Day of Advent
During that first night in the stable Mary gave birth to her son. This son was Jesus, the Savior, who had been promised by God to his people throughout their history for so many years. Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. Jesus came for everybody in the world. God sent us his Son to show us exactly how he wants us to live each day.