We did this in our family and it seemed to go down well (the first time with a three and a five year old) so I wanted to offer it as a potential resource for others.
The idea was very simple – to divide up the biblical narratives about Jesus’ birth into daily chunks for Advent (the Advent calendar version: 1–24 December) and retell in age-appropriate language.
The rules were:
- Leave nothing out – everything that is written in the bible narratives should be covered. (Although I have amplified/unpacked things to the best of my knowledge and limited research.)
- Don’t mix up the stories – we tell Luke’s story, then Matthew’s.
The fact that we have different Gospels makes things a whole lot more interesting. I hope everyone will enjoy noticing the differences – and especially noticing what is different to the nativity play.
There is nothing complicated (only on day 17 do you need a piece of paper – look ahead now). It is intended to be family storytelling, preferably while the Advent candle is burning. We did it at tea-time, or after the bath.
You may want to look ahead to Christmas Eve and decide what you want to do as a family that day. All the storytelling is done by then. I have put in a few random suggestions but you will have better ideas.
Be flexible. Take the material with a pinch of salt (but remember the idea was to leave nothing out). There are interjections in square brackets from time to time, there as suggestions/reminders to make the storytelling as interactive/two-way as possible. It is better told, not read, so try and get it in your head a bit first if you can. But it doesn’t really matter. Just use it how you want.
The questions at the end of each day are totally optional and may need rephrasing for your unique audience!
Finally, this is still very much “in beta” as we like to say these days. Please give me feedback and suggestions!