Advent and Christmas Celebrations in Our Classrooms and Schools
Growing up in my Lutheran school, I remember with fondness the ways in which my classroom and school celebrated Advent and the Christmas season. Maybe you recall some of these same things:
- Receiving a bag filled with fruit, nuts, and candy
- Participating in school Christmas service rehearsals and the services
- Being a part of the Christmas tableau
- Decorating the classroom and Christmas tree (which included green and red paper chains made by students)
- Classroom Christmas parties
- Having gift exchanges with fellow students after randomly picking a name with a specific dollar amount having to be followed
- Singing Christmas carols (religious and secular) in the gym with the whole school participating
- Singing as a class at Wednesday night Advent services
What would your students remember about the way(s) in which you and your school observe the Advent and Christmas season? Perhaps your classroom and/or school observes these seasons in some of the following ways:
- Is there a manger scene in your classroom? In your school?
- Do you decorate your classroom with a tree? Other decorations?
- Is Santa Claus/ St. Nicholas a part of any decorations? Should it or should it not be?
- Does your classroom/school participate in any charitable Christmas projects such as Operation Christmas Child or others?
- Does your class have special Advent/Christmas devotions to begin or end the day?
- Are chapel services based on Advent themes during the month of December?
- Is an Advent wreath used in your classroom or school?
- Is the symbolism of the Advent wreath and the candles and colors explained/taught?
- Are Advent/Christmas hymns/songs sung in your classroom?
- Does your school have departmental or an all-school Christmas services?
- Do you send Christmas greetings to shut-ins?
- Do choirs or school groups visit shut-ins during the season?
- Do any of your school choirs or groups go caroling?
The purpose of the above questions is to generate discussion and thinking about the ways in which we prepare our students (and ourselves) for Advent and Christmas. How well do we prepare or lead them to a fuller understanding of these seasons—especially Advent?
Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival comes from the two Latin words ad – to and venire – come. How can we best help our students to know and understand that Advent is a celebration and anticipation of the two-fold comings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? First, we celebrate Jesus’ first coming as we remember the incarnation and birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as a baby in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, which led to the cross on Golgotha and the open tomb. This was the culmination of the anticipation and hope of His people throughout the Old Testament who were awaiting the Messiah who would come and deliver His people from their sin. Secondly, we look forward with the anticipation and hope that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will come again to finish His redemptive work by “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5), forever eliminating evil and death. We pray especially during this season—which is a season of contrition and repentance, hope, anticipation, and celebration—that we will be strengthened to do the work that needs to be done for His kingdom that is to come.
May you, your students, classrooms, and schools experience the blessings of this Advent and Christmas season in full measure!
Please feel free to share ways in which your classroom or school prepares for and celebrates the Advent and Christmas seasons!