How to Use the Attributes of God as an Advent to Christmas

by Jacob Abshire on December 2, 2013

In a way that only a child can articulate, my daughter explained God’s immutability to the family. “It means God doesn’t have to change him’s pants,” she said. We all chuckled, but she was right on.

This was one of the “big words” about God our family discussed last December as a part of our Christmas advent. We used a decorative Christmas tree and homemade ornaments to spark family time around God’s wondrous attributes. It was both fun and edifying—for all of us.

The activity was first shared with us by my mother, so I can’t take credit. She makes Martha Stewart look like a kindergartener at craft time. So what I’m going to share with you has an excellency that is unmatched. Mom is one of a kind.

Here is what you need to get started:

  • Small Christmas Tree. Nothing spectacular. Get a fun one, but make it good for the house because the tree is going to grab the attention of your guests and become an excellent tool for gospel-focused conversation. Here are some ideas: Traditional Green, Gold Retro, or Silver Retro.
  • Christmas Ornaments. By this, I don’t mean for you to go out and spend a lot on decorative ornaments. It might be more effective to get the materials and make your own with the kids. I suggest felt or paper ornaments. For each ornament, add the name of an attribute of God.  (Below are real photos of our ornaments, but be warned: they are top notch.)
  • Attributes of God. Have a guide of some kind to help you facilitate your family’s discussion of God’s attributes. Praying the Attributes of God by Rosemary Jensen is an excellent book for this. Or, download one that I prepared for my family.

Here is how it works.

Pick a time and place each day when the family can be together. It might be over breakfast or dinner, maybe before bedtime. You will need about 30 minutes. Place the tree there along with a bag full of the ornaments. You don’t want the ornaments visible.

Have a child reach in without looking and pull out only one ornament. The child can read the attribute aloud to the family. One of the parents should then quickly turn to the page in the guide where the selected attribute is detailed. Read the paragraph or talk about it in your own words. Next, read through the Scriptures provided or take turns reading them one by one.

Then, ask the questions suggested at the bottom of the pages or come up with some of your own. You want to get the family to talk about the attribute in their own words so you can be certain that they understand. Make sure they are able to relate the attribute of God to their personal life. God’s attributes have practical implications for us.

After a productive discussion, close the activity out in prayer. Pray that God would help you and your family remember His character and how it relates to their lives.

Finally, leave the tree somewhere in the house where the family can be reminded of the attributes and where visitors can clearly see it. Again, you want the tree to be a powerful tool for gospel-centered discussion.


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