Advent Calendar: the meaning of Christmas

My pre-schoolers & I made these little advent cards last year in preparation for advent. We used clothes pegs to hang them & corresponding gifts, & each day they got to open one.

This year I thought I would do something a little different & easier to take with us when we go away for a bit before Christmas… I stuck each card over a hole in a muffin tin.

The cards:
Each card depicts a passage in the lineage or history of Jesus. Inside they have a Scripture passage, and a message in preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth. They are loosely based on the Jesse Tree.

(Picture meanings below)

The display idea:
I used regular muffin tins from my baking drawer. I just made sure that the holes are the right size for the cards, & that there is a hole at the ‘top’ to hang them by. My tins each have 12 holes, so I have used two, and a gold gift box to complete my 25, but most people only use 24 to lead up to Christmas, & if you are buying specially, you can buy a 24 hole tin.
The idea came from a picture circulating round Facebook. They used magnets to cover the holes, but I found that prestik (sticky-tack) was stronger.



Each hole (& the box) contain a gift for each child. A little sweat, mini chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, or a small toy. Some of these are in mini ziplock bags to protect them from the air. The size of the gift is obviously restricted by the muffin size, but the idea is to make the gifts a small reward for learning the Bible lesson attached.

Lasting memories:
My 6 year old has been asking me for a while, if we would repeat the Advent calendar with the cards. She got super excited when I brought out the cards last week to get them ready. The pictures she remembered were explained to her younger sister, and I was nagged to tell the stories of those she had forgotten. Often I only needed to get half way before she took over the narrative.


Pictures & verses:

twig: Isaiah 11:1-2 Jesse and the family line of Jesus

globe: Genesis 1 Creation

snake: Genesis 3 Fall/ beginning of sin

Rainbow with ark and water: Genesis 6-8 Noah ark and God’s promise

tents: Genesis 12 Abram

Cradle: Genesis 21 birth of Isaac

Sheep: Genesis 22 Isaac and the sacrificial ram

ladder: Genesis 28 Jacob

Numbered tablets: Exodus 20 / Deuteronomy 5 Ten commandments

red ribbon/cord: Joshua 2  Rahab & Jerico

‘wheat’: Ruth 1-2 Ruth

horn with oil drops: 1 Samuel 16 David’s anointing as king

stones, water and flames: 1 Kings 18 Elijah

Septre  And crown: Ester 4 Ester

Heart & bud: Isaiah 9 prophets speak of a savior to come

Sheep & lion: Isaiah 11 the Kingdom of Heaven

Whale: Jonah 3 Jonah

lion: Daniel 6 Daniel

Bethlehem house: Micah 5 prophecy of Jesus

John clay & stick: Luke 1 birth of John the Baptist

Drops & river: Matthew 3 John’s ministry

heart with jewel: Luke 1:26-38 Mary

Carpentry tools: Matthew 1 Joseph

sandles: Luke 2 trip to Bethlehem

star: Luke 2 birth of Jesus


PS: as a South African, raised at the Souther Tip (Agulhas), I may have altered the stylized globe from the Euro-centric version. But in retrospect, I made Africa far too small!


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