Think Festival of the Trees, but of Nativities instead. In the midst of an Advent planning session about the Children’s Christmas Eve service and Hanging of the Greens in the Children’s Area, our team hashed out a great idea. I wanted to share it asap since we are all in the midst of Advent planning, so here goes.

What if we offer an open invitation to the congregation to bring a nativity to be displayed on tables lining the children’s worship space (we call ours The TreeHouse)? At the kid’s Hanging of the Greens (HOG service), we go ahead and set up the stage area with a photo booth for the Tacky Tshirt Family Christmas Party (it’s too hot in Atlanta for sweaters!), we set up a few trees, then line the walls with tables. We place solid-colored table cloths on all the tables. Families or groups would complete an information form about the nativity displayed (Family name, contact info, and one or two lines about the history of the nativity) to be displayed with each nativity. Nativities would be dropped off for display the first two weeks of Advent.

On the Sunday before Christmas Eve (third Sunday in Advent), immediately following the last service of the morning, we invite the congregation and families to a Tour of the Nativities in the children’s worship space with Fifth Grade Ambassadors as greeters and tour guides with Christmas music playing in the background. Another kidmin champion mentioned at yesterday’s networking lunch how her local church’s ladies group did this and even opened it to the community. I’ll be finding out more about that as we get closer.

Yeah…this is happening!

What are you most excited about this Advent season as you engage children and their families in developmentally appropriate faith formation experiences?

“Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.'” Luke 5:26