This year for family devotions, I chose Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. It is a beautifully illustrated family devotional guide that leads your family from Creation to the Coming of Baby Jesus. Along with the book, I prepared 25 ornaments that coordinate with each day’s entry. The kids love opening our advent bags to discover each day’s ornament and hang it on our Christmas tree.
My husband leads our family in devotions over breakfast each weekday morning. Because we are going out of town for some of December and we don’t usually meet for family devotions on the weekends, we started a bit before December 1st and will likely be using the guide through the end of December. We aren’t following it exactly by the date, but rather just “25 days.” Our family devotional time is usually around 30 minutes and is full of distractions, silliness, messes, and joy. You can follow along and see peeks into our everyday life in my Instagram stories.
Here is what we do each morning.
Look up and read the scripture
Each entry begins with a passage of scripture. My kids like to find the passages in their own children’s bibles and take turns reading portions aloud. You can find the bibles they have here.
Read the story
My husband reads the story for the day and explains anything that the children need help understanding. Ann Voskamp is a talented writer and many of the stories are written very poetically. While we all enjoy this very much, some of the details can get lost in translation for my 6 and 7-year-olds. I still recommend it, just be prepared to do some explaining if you have younger ones or if your family is unfamiliar with the bible stories before beginning this devotional.
Discuss the questions
After the story, there are some prompt questions that my husband uses to get the discussion going. We all spend some time talking about the story and how it applies to our lives.
Memorize and review scripture verses
As a family, we memorize one passage of scripture a week so we take a few minutes to practice the current week’s verse and review previous weeks’ verses. We are using the weekly verses from A Connected Christmas. Read more about Scripture Memory with Kids here.
I found free printable ornaments that coordinate with each entry in Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. Before we began day one I printed the 2x2 ornaments on copy paper, cut them out, and used Modge Podge to adhere them to these wooden ornaments. Then I put each ornament in a bag labeled 1-25. I found our advent calendar second-hand, but little paper bags hanging with clothespins would be cute as well! Each morning the kids take turns opening a bag and placing the ornament on our Christmas tree to remind us of the story we read.
The end of each entry offers some Family Activity ideas to coordinate with the lesson and a prayer prompt. We aren’t using the activities this year, simply because we have a lot of activities we are already doing with A Connected Christmas. My husband leads our family in prayer and gives the children a chance to also pray something related to what we learned or anything on their hearts. It is a sweet way to conclude our time together.
I am so thankful to have found this resource. If you are reading this and are looking for a family devotional unrelated to the Christmas season we have used and love Our 24 Family Ways by the Clarksons and Leading Little Ones to God.