As parents, we're always looking for ways to make Advent a genuine and anticipated experience for our kids. We want them to understand the longing, expectation, and wonder of the season. An Advent devotional is a great tool for enriching the daily journey through Advent, and for kids, we love Antonie Schneider's Advent Storybook: 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas.
The book's central character is Benjamin Bear, and he is so impatient for Christmas! His mother tells him 24 bedtime stories about another little bear's journey to Bethlehem. The stories are short (a couple paragraphs each) and perfect for bedtime reading to your own kids. They capture the imagination with memorable characters, like giants, robbers, kings, and animal trains. Each story is infused with simple and meaningful morals, reinforced when Benjamin and Mother Bear reflect on the story each night.
The Advent Storybook is appropriate for preschool and elementary-age children. We like that the themes of the weeks of Advent – hope, peace, joy, and love – are emphasized throughout the stories. We're also delighted by Schneider's sensitivity to the calendar. For example, on December 6, the Feastday of St. Nicholas, Benjamin Bear meets St. Nicholas ("The Man in Red"), and Mother Bear observes that "sharing with others brings us closer to God." Since our family is planning to celebrate St. Nicholas Day this Advent season and make gift bags to bring to friends, this little story fits perfectly with the day.
We think parents (and grandparents!) will find the Advent Storybook a wonderful companion for the journey through Advent. For adults, check out Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, which we review here.