For Advent this year, we’ve been making use of the Jesse Tree and this book, upon recommendation from our church. For those unfamiliar with the Jesse Tree, the idea is to do family devotionals around the Advent theme. Then, you have your child hang an ornament related to the theme on the tree. Each time you hang an ornament, you can review previous themes because those ornaments are already on the tree. By the end of the Advent Season, your child hopefully has internalized some of the themes.
Suffice to say, teaching Advent to young children has its challenges and advantages. The trick is, of course, how well these themes are caught. How, for instance, do you explain concepts like sin, prophecy, or eternity to a four year old?
But it’s not without its advantages, either. When we got to the devotional about “heart” (see picture above), I saw something click in Abigail that I’ve never seen before. We talked to her about how God became human to reconcile sins that reside in the human heart. Abbey understood very well how sin lived in our hearts, and how that could be a problem. She also understood that God cared about sin, and wanted to solve the problem. ‘Boy, that’s a problem, isn’t it?’ we puzzled with her. ‘So that’s why God became a baby—to solve the problem of sin in the world!’
Abbey’s reaction was a mix of surprise and incredulity: “a baby?!! How could a baby save the world?!?”