Darren DePaul (Lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Clinton, CT) said:
Here is a wonderful commercial done a few years ago by Sainsbury, a British grocery store chain. It depicts the true story of the “Christmas Truce” of 1914. The clip can be used to show “peace,” but the peace that the world gives is only temporary. The “Truce” only lasted a few days, but the peace that Jesus gives is eternal.
Adam Peterson (Family & Youth Director at Christ City Church in Memphis, TN) said:
My first recommendation is Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. It’s based on her Jesse tree devotional, but it’s more geared towards families. While it seems like it would be better for younger children (and our children’s ministry does use it for Sunday school on occasion), the pictures are beautiful and are helpful for helping students engage their childhood whimsy, if you will.
The second is a post from youthministry360 about Christmas Story takeaways. This has helped for children’s sermons on a Sunday morning service during Advent, Sunday school lessons, and one-on-one Bible studies. It’s nothing world-changing, but it has been helpful for helping me think about different ways to seek application of the story for students.
I would also recommend people check with their denominations for good readings and resources that could be distributed to families. I know, for example, that the various Reformed denominations (RCA, PCA, EPC, PCUSA) all have resources that are good for churches and for families. RCA is not my denomination, but we’re using this Jesse Tree devotional in our home this year.
David Brashler (Family Pastor at Living Water Church in Vancouver, WA) said:
This is the second year I’ve personally used Prepare Him Room, a devotional by Marty Machowski, with my family – we love it! It is a 4 days a week resource for families that includes Gospel-focused content, activities, stories, and songs you can sing along to on YouTube performed by Sovereign Grace. I’ve worked with our Church staff to use the corresponding Sunday School curriculum on Sunday mornings. This helps reinforce and compliment at Church what’s happening at home during the week. This devotional and its curriculum offer such a strategic approach to leading families through the Advent Season!
Kris Fernhout (Director of the Kansas City Fellows, Kansas City, KS) said:
Advent Conspiracy is a fantastic resource that engages the whole family in Advent, social justice, and generosity all at the same time.
Trish Harrison Warren’s book, Liturgy of the Ordinary, is a book that reminds us of the beauty and goodness in the mundane. The ideas in this book are very applicable around Advent, when there is a tendency to think that every Christmas has to be bigger and better than the last. It reminds us that the arrival of the Messiah, in many ways, happened in the most “mundane” way possible.
Dave Wright (Coordinator for Student Ministries in the Diocese of South Carolina) said:
Short videos can be a fantastic way to reinforce ideas that we are teaching because they visually engage students. One excellent source for such content is danstevers.com. Dan Stevers uses motion graphics and animation to create mini-movies that average 3 minutes in length and communicate a message effectively. With over 50 titles to choose from, there is a wide variety of themes covered in a diversity of styles. Some are most suited for children, while others will work well with teens or adults. Most can be downloaded for $20 each in several HD formats and also come with bonus graphics and movie files. Dan Stevers also sells motion backgrounds for different seasons and settings.