Here is a complete lesson plan on Advent with a worksheet that requires the minimum of planning.
The children will learn about Advent, the Christian festival leading up to Christmas.
Ready-made lesson on Advent – no researching for the answers!
This teacher’s copy of the Christian Festival of Advent lesson plan is printer-friendly.
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1. Resources for the Advent lesson plan:
No special resources are required.
2. Starter for the Advent lesson plan:
Imagine that someone very important was going to come to your house.
Someone like a queen or king, or the Prime Minister, or a pop star, or some other superstar.
There’s not a set date, but you know that they will visit you shortly, perhaps next week!
You know that they will want to see you and the places you go to and the things that you do.
Q. What sort of things would go through your mind?
What shall I wear? I’d better tidy my bedroom!
I’d better make sure this person doesn’t see my scruffy little brother! etc.
You would then really look forward to this person coming.
3. Main teaching for the Advent lesson plan:
We are going to look at the festival of Advent, which includes the four Sundays before Christmas.
Q. What is Advent? What does the word ‘advent’ mean?
The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin ‘adventus’ which means “coming”.
So, it means the arrival of someone very special, and for Christians this refers to two major events:
- 1) Something that has already happened:
The arrival of Jesus Christ into the world as a baby is celebrated at Christmas. [Teachers note: This can be found at: The festival of Christmas. RE resources ]
- 2) And secondly, the expected arrival of Jesus Christ again, which hasn’t happened yet.
This is what we will look at now.
Christians believe that after Jesus was raised from the dead, His disciples saw Him being taken up into heaven and they were told:
Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”Acts 1:11 NIV
Jesus had said to the religious leaders that He would come again on the clouds of heaven. (Matthew 26:64)
4. Advent is expecting Jesus’ second coming
Christians believe that at some point He will come back to earth, not as a baby like last time, but as King, the All-powerful God!
Jesus tells us that there will be something very unusual about that day, not only will He appear in the clouds, with power and a great show of strength, but also He will gather up His followers in such a way that:
Two men will be working together in the fields, and one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be going about their household tasks; one will be taken, the other left.”Matthew 24:40-41 (The Living Bible)
That means that all those living on the earth who believe in Jesus will be taken up to meet Him.
But that is not all, every believer who has died will be raised to life from the ground to meet Jesus in the sky. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
This will happen at the end of the world.
The Bible does not make it clear how soon after Jesus’ second coming the end will come.
In the Bible, the end of the world is known as ‘the Day of the Lord’, ‘the Last Day’ or ‘the Great Day’.
It is described in a very serious and frightening way because there will be no other day like it.
Christians believe that it will be the very last day, the end of the world as we know it.
Here is a part of what is said in the Bible:
The day of the Lord is surely coming, as unexpectedly as a thief,2 Peter 3:10-13 (The Living Bible)
and then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise,
and the heavenly bodies (the Sun, moon, planets and stars) will disappear in fire,
and the earth and everything on it will be burned up.
And so since everything around us is going to melt away,
what holy, godly lives we should be living!
You should look forward to that day and hurry it along –
the day when God will set the heavens on fire,
and the heavenly bodies will melt and disappear in flames.
But we are looking forward to God’s promise
of new heavens and a new earth afterwards,
where there will be only goodness.”
5. How do we live when we believe that Jesus will come again?
Many Christians live with this thought, that one day he will return.
They believe that:
a) The day of the Lord is surely coming
The Bible is saying that this is a definite event, which will happen.
We don’t know when, but it is coming.
The disciples even asked Jesus when it would happen, but He never gave them a date.
To answer their question He warned them not to be led astray, because there would be many people who would claim to be the Christ coming back for the second time!
When Jesus actually returns, there will be no doubt about it, because it will light up the sky like a lightning flash.
He said that there would be many wars, and there would be famines and earthquakes in many places in the world and that lawlessness would increase.
But even with all this going on, His teaching about the Kingdom of God would be taught in every country in the world and then the end would come. (Matthew 24:3-14)
b) Jesus will return again “as unexpectedly as a thief”
Q. How easy is it to know when a thief is going to break into a house?
You wouldn’t be able to say, that next Thursday at two in the morning a thief is going to try and break into a house.
You just don’t know when the thief will strike, and the Bible says that you just won’t know when Jesus is going to return.
c) The earth is going to end with fire
And so since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives we should be living!”2 Peter 3:11 NIV
This is a warning notice that should be read and understood.
Imagine that you’ve got to go onto a building site where a tall skyscraper is being built.
But before you enter you see a warning notice that says:
‘Danger from falling items! Wear a hard hat at all times!’
Q. What is the warning and what is the solution?
- The warning: the falling items.
- The solution: wear a hard hat!
Q. Do you put on a hard hat?
Yes, why? No, why?
Imagine that you had ignored the warning notice, you refused to put a hard hat on and then you got hit on the head by something falling from above.
Q. Your head hurts, so whose fault is that?
If you had followed the instructions on the warning notice then you wouldn’t have received a head injury.
In the Bible reading it says:
and the earth and everything on it will be burned up. And so since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives we should be living!”2 Peter 3:11 NIV
Q. What is the warning and what is the solution?
- The warning: Everything is to be burned up.
- The solution: Live a holy, godly life!
Q. What is a holy and godly life?
Holy means being available to do what God wants.
Christians believe that a godly life is living your life in such a way that is pleasing to God, and that means wanting Jesus to be your God and friend.
d) But this ‘Last Day’ is not the end.
It is only the end of the world as we know it at the moment because the Bible says:
we are looking forward to God’s promise of new heavens and a new earth afterwards, where there will be only goodness.”2 Peter 3:13
The second coming of Jesus Christ will be the start of a new heaven and a new earth.
At the moment we live in a world where there is suffering and evil, as well as good things, but the new world will be all goodness.
No tears, no pain, no suffering, and no death.
That is something to really look forward to!
e) For those who don’t believe in Jesus or want to trust in God
Christians believe that these people make themselves into God’s enemy, and they will be excluded from heaven.
In the Bible, these people are called ‘sinners.’
The Bible says that Jesus:
isn’t really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way. But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent.”2 Peter 3:9 (The Living Bible)
To ‘perish’ means to be shut out of heaven.
‘To repent’ means to ‘turn around’.
In other words, if someone is walking away from God because they are His enemy, then they have a change of heart and they decide to turn towards Him and trust Him, – that is what it means to repent.
6. Plenary for the Advent lesson plan:
Let’s go back to how we started this lesson.
Imagine that a superstar or someone very important was going to come to your house.
Now change that thought to Jesus Christ’s second coming.
You don’t know when He will visit, it could be 1000 years from now, or it could be in the next few minutes!
It’s not a case of: ‘What shall I wear? – And I’d better tidy my bedroom!’ but rather ‘Am I looking forward to Him coming?’
Q. Do you think that you have to be a believer to look forward to Jesus’ second coming and also to celebrate ‘Advent’?
Q. How important is it for Christians to celebrate ‘Advent’?
Either take a short time to discuss these questions, or leave it with them.
Draw a picture illustrating how the world will end according to the Bible.
7. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What are the 4 meanings of Advent?
A candle may be lit on the four Sundays counting down to Christmas day to celebrate Advent.
Advent candle 1) for hope (the Prophecy Candle) thinks about Isaiah’s prophecies predicting the birth of the Messiah (Christ) coming to Earth as God and man.
Advent candle 2) for Peace (the Bethlehem Candle) that during the chaos of the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for Joseph and pregnant Mary, that the Prince of Peace would be with us.
Advent candle 3) for Joy (the Shepherd’s Candle) represents the joy of the shepherds after seeing the angels and then who went to worship the newborn baby Jesus.
Advent candle 4) for Love (the Angel’s Candle) represents the amazing love of God the Father, who sent His only Son to save us.
Then a fifth candle can be lit on Christmas day.