- You will need to photocopy/print and cut out the Bible passages below to put in your advent calendar.
- The Bible verses are taken from the NIrV. Minor changes to the NIrV have only been made to add the name of a pronoun to make it clear who the pronoun is referring to or to simplify the language for preschoolers. These changes are indicated by square brackets: [ ].
- I have deliberately chosen small sections for the Bible passages because the calendar is designed for preschoolers.
- The aim is to read the Bible verses of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Day. However, the stories of the shepherds and the magi have been included in readings for the days following Christmas up until New Year’s Day.
- The calendar is primarily designed for pre-schoolers, but could also be used for older children.
- The questions are designed to help the children comprehend details of the Bible passage. Sometimes the second and third questions may be too difficult for very young children. Feel free not to use these questions if this is the case.
- To help children remember the story, it would be good to revise the story so far by asking the children to tell you what happened in the story the day before.
- Answers to some questions have been provided. These are indicated in parentheses: ( ).
- The comment is intended to explain details from the questions or to prompt the children to think further about the passage.
- If your children can read, you could encourage them to take turns praying the prayer. You could also encourage your children to pray in response to what they’ve learnt from the Bible passage.
- Songs have been suggested. The songs by Colin Buchanan have backing tracks.
Two simple advent calendars
- You will need: your odd socks and/or buy red, green, white socks (or any colour you fancy—you will need 17 socks in total), stickers with numbers 1-17 on them, ribbon, 17 wooden pegs and a small treat for each sock (e.g. a Freddo, lollies—you could use one for each child or get them to share the treat). Place the Bible passages and the treats inside the socks. Put the stickers on the outside of each sock. Hang the ribbon from one wall to another and then use the pegs to hang the socks on the ribbon.
- You will need 17 small boxes, e.g. wedding cake boxes you can buy from stationers or newsagents, stickers with numbers 1-17 on them and a small treat for each box (e.g. a chocolate Freddo, lollies—you could use one for each child or get them to share the treat). Place the Bible passages and the treats inside the boxes. Put the stickers on the outside of each box. Stack the boxes so they make the shape of a pyramid starting with box number 17 at the bottom and ending with box number 1 at the top.
Song: “Promises, Promises” from A Very Very Very Big God.
Song: “I Belong to Him” from A Very Very Very Big God.
Song: “Will You Come to Jesus?” from King of Christmas (Colin Buchanan).
Song: “Happy, Happy Day” from King of Christmas (Colin Buchanan).
27 Dec-Jan 1
Song: “Merry, Merry Christmas” from King of Christmas (Colin Buchanan).
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. The angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin [to a girl who wasn’t married]. The girl was engaged to a man named Joseph. He came from the family line of [King] David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
- Who did God send to Nazareth?
- What was the girl’s name?
- Who was Mary engaged to?
What do you think the angel will say to Mary?
Dear God, thank you for sending the angel Gabriel to Mary. Thank you that today you speak to us in the Bible. Help us to believe your words to us in the Bible. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The angel greeted [Mary] and said, “The Lord has given you special favour. He is with you.”
Mary was very upset because of [the angel’s] words. She wondered what kind of greeting this could be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you.”
- How did Mary feel after the angel spoke to her?
- What did the angel say to make her feel better? (The angel told her not to be afraid because God was very happy with her.)
I wonder what will happen next in the story.
Dear Lord God, thank you for Luke who wrote the story of Christmas for us. Help us to believe the Christmas story. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The angel also said to Mary, “You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the most high God.”
- What did the angel say the baby must be called?
- What did the angel say Jesus would be like? (He will be great and will be called the Son of the most high God.)
Is Jesus great? Why do you think Jesus is great?
Dear heavenly Father, we praise you that Jesus is great. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the Son of the most high God. Amen.
The angel also said to Mary, “The Lord God will make him a king like his father David of long ago. He will rule forever over his people, who came from Jacob’s family. His kingdom will never end.”
- What did the angel say Jesus would become?
- How long did the angel say Jesus’ kingdom will last?
Do you believe that Jesus is the king of the whole world?
Dear God, thank you that Jesus is the king of the whole world. Thank you that Jesus’ kingdom will last forever. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“How can this happen?” Mary asked the angel. “I am a virgin,” [i.e. not married yet].
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come to you. The power of the Most High God will cover you. So the holy one that is born will be called the Son of God.”
- What would Jesus be called? (The Son of God.)
Jesus is God’s Son. This means that Jesus is God’s chosen King.
Dear Lord, help us to worship and follow your chosen King, Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
“I serve the Lord,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me just as you said it would.” Then the angel left her.
- Did Mary believe God’s words as told by the angel?
Do you believe God’s words in the Bible?
Dear God, please help us to believe you just like Mary did. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Joseph was a godly man … [A]n angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit.” Then the angel said, “She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus. That is because he will save his people from their sins.”
- Who put the baby inside Mary?
- What did the angel say Joseph had to call Mary’s baby?
- The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘God saves’. What does Jesus save his people from? (Their sins.)
Jesus can save people from their sin. That’s the good news about Christmas. What did Jesus do to save people from their sin? (He died on the cross and rose again for us.)
Dear Father in heaven, we praise you that Jesus saves us from our sin. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
All of this took place to bring about what the Lord had said would happen. [The Lord] had said through the prophet, “The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel.” The name Immanuel means “God with us.”
Joseph woke up. He did what the angel of the Lord commanded him to do. He took Mary home as his wife.
- Who said all these things would happen to Mary? (The Lord.)
- What did the angel say Jesus would be called? (Immanuel.)
- What does ‘Immanuel’ mean? (God with us.)
Jesus is God with us. That’s so special isn’t it? That means God came to earth in Jesus.
Dear Lord God, we praise you that Jesus is God with us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
In those days, Caesar Augustus made a law. It [said] that a list [must] be made of everyone in the whole Roman world. It was the first time a list was made of the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be listed.
- What did the people have to do? (Go to their towns to be listed.)
The Bible tells us things as they really happened. Do you believe the Bible is true?
Dear God, thank you that the Bible is true. Help us to believe your words. We pray this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was. Joseph went there because he belonged to the family line of David. He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.
- Where did Joseph and Mary go?
- Who was the baby Mary was expecting?
God said that Mary would have a baby. Did God’s words come true?
Dear Father in heaven, thank you that your words to Mary and Joseph came true. Thank you for sending Jesus to earth for us. We pray all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
While Joseph and Mary were there [in Nazareth], the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There was no room for them in the inn.
And Joseph gave him the name Jesus.
- What do we remember on Christmas Day?
- Where was Jesus born?
- What did Mary wrap Jesus in?
- Where did Mary put baby Jesus?
- Why was Jesus put in a manger?
Jesus was born many, many years ago. But here we are having a party for Jesus. Do you think it’s fantastic that Jesus came to earth for us?
Dear Lord God, we praise you that Jesus was born for us. Thank you for sending Jesus to live, die and rise again for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were looking after their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified.
- Who were out in the fields near where Jesus was born?
- What were the shepherds doing?
- Who appeared to the shepherds?
Let’s read a little more:
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Here is how you will know that I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
- What did the angel say had happened in the town of David?
The angel said that Jesus is “Christ the Lord”. This means Jesus is the king of the world. Do you trust in Jesus the king?
Dear Father in heaven, we praise you that Jesus is the king of the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The angels left and went into heaven. Then the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger.
- What did the shepherds do?
- What did they find?
- Did God keep his promise that Jesus would be born?
The shepherds found Jesus just like God had told them. Can we trust God to keep his promises?
Dear Lord God, thank you that the shepherds found Jesus, just like you told them they would. Thank you that everything you say is true. We pray this in the name of King Jesus. Amen.
After the shepherds had seen [Jesus], they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child. All who heard were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
- What did the shepherds do after they had seen Jesus?
The shepherds told everyone about Jesus. Do you think we should tell everyone about Jesus?
Dear Lord, thank you that the shepherds told everyone about Jesus. Please help us to tell people about Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over.
The shepherds returned. They gave glory and praise to God. Everything they had seen and heard was just as they had been told.
- What did the shepherds do when they returned to their fields?
The shepherds told God how great he was for sending Jesus to be born. Do you think we should tell God how great he is?
Dear God, you sent Jesus to earth to die and rise again for our sin. You’re so great. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea. This happened while Herod was King of Judea.
After Jesus’ birth, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the child who has been born to be king of the Jews? When we were in the east, we saw his star. Now we have come to worship him.”
- What did the wise men say about Jesus?
Jesus was born the king of the Jews. Lots and lots of Jewish people don’t worship Jesus. We should pray for them.
Dear heavenly father, thank you that Jesus is the king of the Jews. We pray that many Jewish people will come to worship Jesus and accept him as their king. We pray this in the name of King Jesus. Amen.
The star [the wise men] had seen when they were in the east went ahead of them. It finally stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy.
- What did the star do for the wise men?
- When they saw the star, what did the wise men do? (They were filled with joy.)
The wise men were happy because the star led them to Jesus. Knowing Jesus should make us very happy every day—not just on Christmas Day.
Dear God, thank you for leading the wise men to Jesus. Please help us to be happy that Jesus loves us, and thankful that we know Jesus. We pray this in his name. Amen.
The Wise Men went to the house. There they saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures. They gave him gold, incense and myrrh.
- Where did the wise men go to see Jesus?
- What did the wise men do when they saw Jesus?
The wise men worshipped Jesus. This means that they thought Jesus was a great king. Do you think we should worship Jesus?
Dear Lord God, help us to worship Jesus just like the wise men did. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.