Advent Bookmarks

We know that the excitement of Christmas is top of mind for children in December, even as we try to teach them the patience of waiting in Advent. This year, help young children remember the gift of Jesus at Christmas with our Advent bookmarks coloring sheets, available in English and Spanish. The bookmarks are from Finding God Kindergarten. Invite children to use the bookmarks in their textbooks or hang them on the family fridge as […]

10 Ways to Celebrate Advent with Your Class—Without Rushing to Christmas

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Catechist’s Journey this week by sharing catechetical top-10 lists each day and giving away Loyola Press prize packages. Enter for your chance to win the Dear Pope Francis Family Kit today; details below. With stores decorating for Christmas as early as Halloween, movie channels already showing holiday flicks, and restaurants playing Christmas music in November, it’s easy for the young people we serve to want to jump […]

Celebrating Advent by Making Wreaths with Your Families

As our young families gathered on the first Sunday of Advent, the buzz of excitement was undeniable. Our parish hall was transformed into an Advent workshop where they created their very own Advent wreaths. Before me lay a sea of long tables at which the families worked, chatted, collaborated, and prayed. Christmas music harmonized with the hum of warm and friendly conversation; the atmosphere was most certainly alive with joy. Together, our families wove the […]

The “Three Comings of the Lord”: Finding Jesus Christ During Advent

Advent is a season of waiting. But who are we waiting for? Baby Jesus seems like the obvious and most popular choice. But if we listen closely to the Collect prayer at Mass the First Sunday in Advent—which asks the Father to make us ready to “run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming”—it sounds like we’re waiting for Christ’s second coming at the end of time. That’s true, too. But […]

The Jesse Tree—Free PowerPoint Presentation

One popular Advent tradition is making a Jesse tree, which helps us to connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events leading to Jesus’ birth. We adorn a Jesse tree with illustrated ornaments that represent people, prophesies, and events that recall God’s promise and its fulfillment. With a focus on Old Testament figures, the Jesse tree is a particularly good activity for sixth graders studying salvation history. It’s also great for any junior […]

Kindness Angels

What’s your favorite project to work on with students in your group? We asked this question on our Catholic Faith Formation Facebook page and received a variety of creative ideas. Today we’re highlighting one lesson called “Kindness Angels.” This lesson is ideal for the Advent season as an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf. It can also be used throughout the year for busy families who are looking to engage in a meaningful way. […]

Waiting and Preparation: Teaching Advent and Christmas

What should Catholic children know about Advent? They should know that it is a season of waiting and preparation, not fulfillment. In contrast to the frenzied Christmas shopping season, the patient waiting that characterizes Advent has its own particular beauty. More than that, it helps us understand something important about Jesus: he is the awaited Savior of the people of God. Use the rich symbols and stories of the season to help children experience Advent […]

Advent: Of Elves or Angels?

Advent is a time of expectation and excitement as we prepare for the birth of Christ. Within Advent is the unfolding of beautiful readings that build from one week to another, along with complimentary music, colors, and the rituals surrounding this liminal time. The opening of Advent calendars or the many other creative ways of counting sacred time is amongst my favorite childhood traditions. Keeping pace with sacred time is becoming more and more difficult […]

Christmas Project Day

We take the week of Christmas and the following week off from faith formation classes. That means we might have one or two classes during the Christmas season—and those after the world has already moved on past trees and tinsel. How do we teach children the importance of the Christian understanding of Christmas when the timing seems a bit awkward? I try to do so by using the last class before Christmas as a project […]

The Advent Prayer Grab Bag

Traditional Advent activities include Advent wreaths, calendars, and Jesse trees. While these are all great ways to help children celebrate the season, I like using something different: the Advent prayer grab bag. The prayer grab bag takes its inspiration from the popular party game of grab bags. I ask my group if anyone has ever participated in a grab bag and invite someone who has to explain the tradition of bringing one gift to a […]

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