The Christmas season brings many moments for reflection and encouragement for followers of Jesus. Whether you are delivering a devotional for your small group, prepping for a short sermon for a Christmas Eve service, or simply want to prepare something to share with your family on Christmas Day–this list of Christmas devotionals will help light your creative spark and inspire you with timeless truths from the Christmas story.
What is Advent?
During the month of December followers of Jesus around the world reflect on the nativity story and what the birth of Christ means for our faith. This series of weeks leading up to Christmas Day is referred to as Advent. It technically begins four Sundays before Christmas. While many denominations celebrate Advent differently it’s a wonderful time of year for all Christians to reflect on the different facets of the Christmas story.
Whether you share these devotionals with your church or use them to kickstart your own family devotional time for Advent– I pray they bless you as you reflect on the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season.
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10 Christmas Devotional Ideas
Shining in the darkness
Christmas is the ultimate light bringing Jesus to mankind. Explore the ideas of darkness vs light in books and movies (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe). Like the Christmas star, how can we let our light shine in the darkness?
This devotional would also work well with an object lesson, such as a candle, advent wreath or camping lantern.
Scripture: John 1:5 and Matthew 2:1-2
The origin of Silent Night song is a compelling story of finding hope in uncertain circumstances. The lyrics point to the ultimate peace found in the baby in the manger and were a beacon of hope for the war-torn and poverty stricken congregation of the writer, Joseph Mohr. Contemplate how Jesus birth brings us peace no matter our circumstances.
Scripture: Ephesians 2:14 and Luke 2:14
Mary trusting God
Jesus’ mother Mary’s story of trusting God in the unknown is one of the most astounding examples of faith. The angel gives her three promises 1. You are highly favored. 2. The Lord is with you. 3. Do not be afraid.
How can these statements given to Mary give us strength and courage for trusting God in the unknown in our lives?
Scripture: Matthew 1:26-38
Names of God
In Isaiah 9:6 God promises a Messiah that will be an Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Almighty God, and Prince of Peace. Explore what each of these titles and names means about God’s character and how God is personally each of these names to us through the son of God, Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
Shepherds were often looked down on in Jewish culture–at best they were below-average candidates to be the ones to receive the angelic announcement of the Messiah’s birth. But they show God’s desire to humble Himself as one of us.
His upside down kingdom where no matter your past reputation, current occupation, or future expectation–you matter to God.
Scripture: Luke 2, 1 Corinthians 1:27, and Philippians 2:6-7
Mary’s responded to world-shaking news of becoming the mother of the Messiah by composing a worship song to God. Her song focuses on the actions God takes to show His mercy and blessing.
What do the actions of God tell us about His heart? How often do you notice God’s action in your daily life?
Scripture: Luke 1:46-55
Move Closer to Jesus
As you embark on the Christmas season ponder the question: “Will I be closer to Jesus on December 25th?” All of our activities and preparations are for nothing if Christmas doesn’t move us closer to Jesus. Read the full devotional here and feel free to use or modify for your ministry with proper credit.
Scripture: Matthew 2, Luke 2:15-16, John 1:14 and 16.
The Best Gift Ever
Remember the best give you’ve ever received? Was it something you really wanted–maybe you wrote to Santa Clause or circled it in the thick Sears Christmas catalog? Any Christmas gifts you’ve ever received (no matter how awesome the Tickle-Me-Elmo was) compares to the gift of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ birth changed everything! He is the greatest gift the world has ever received. And He is the perfect give for you to receive and give this Christmas.
Scripture: Galatians 4:4-7 and Ephesians 2:8-9 and Luke 2
Making Room for Jesus
When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem there was no space available for them. Whoever who turned away the young, pregnant couple had no idea they were turning away the unborn Messiah.
Is there enough room in my life for Jesus? Do I overfill my heart with noise from social media, television, podcasts, etc. or is there enough quiet for the Holy Spirit to speak?
Scripture: Luke 2:6-7
So often in the holiday season we see with rose-colored glasses. Like a baker making holiday treats we prefer to “candy-coat” the hard parts of Christmas. The Bible doesn’t candy-coat anything in the first Christmas– an unplanned pregnancy could have been a death sentence for Mary.
The 90 mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was dangerous, grueling and exhausting under any circumstance–let alone 9 months pregnant. Delivering your first baby among animal droppings with your first visitors being complete strangers is not a dream birth experience.
But God came to earth as the baby Jesus–straight into our mess–no candy-coating necessary.
Scripture: Luke 1-2
To learn more about studying the Bible be sure to grab your FREE BIBLE STUDY CONFIDENCE KIT to help guide you through your Bible reading.
10 Christmas Devotional Ideas for Kids
The Jesse tree is a tradition my family did growing up together for the Christmas season. You can get the book with daily devotions and you can purchase ornaments on Etsy or their are lots of DIY versions.
Read 1 Christmas book a day at bedtime
This is a simple tradition to add to your bedtime or morning routine with your kids. It can also make a simple way to add an emphasis to your children’s ministry while holding children’s attention and highlighting different facets of the Christmas story.
Here’s an awesome list of Christ-centered Christmas books that I’ve used to stock my own Christmas book library for my kids!
Read the Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Devotional plan
My family and church loves the Jesus Storybook Bible and the way it weaves the promise of a Rescuer into many familiar Bible stories. The author offers an amazing Advent devotional plan with a reading guide, printable ornaments, coloring pages and activity ideas.
Make Christmas cards together
As kids craft Christmas cards (using old cards they cut out or use any of these ideas) talk about the Shepherds and Angels sharing the good news of the Christmas. Once we receive the good news of Jesus we don’t keep it to ourselves but share it with others!
Christmas cards are great to share with the elderly who are in nursing homes or to send to hospitals!
Scripture: Luke 2
Make Christmas cookies together.
As you mix together the dough talk about all the different circumstances and people saying yes to God that had to come together in the first Christmas story just like all the ingredients have to come together to make beautiful and delicious cookies.
Even though it may seem like you are only a small part of God’s plan your small yes to God (being kind, helping someone, sharing) can help spread the beautiful message of Jesus birth.
Scripture: Matthew 1 and Luke 1-2
The Legend of the Candy Cane
Read the story of the legend of the candy cane. Engage young children in a discussion as they make a craft with a candy cane or simply enjoy eating one.
What is one thing the candy cane represents about Jesus? The townspeople all wanted the stranger to be something different–how was he what they needed? What can the candy cane remind you of?
The Perfect Gift
Ask children to help you decide what is the perfect gift for 3 people. Describe a doctor, a farmer and a kid. Then have a volunteer unwrap the first gift–a bag of corn or grain–who is this gift perfect for?
Next have a different volunteer unwrap the next gift–a stethoscope (or other play medical equipment). Finally have the last volunteer unwrap the gift for a kid– a small gift from the dollar store or piece of candy.
Talk about how at Christmas we try to find the perfect gift for our family. The gift our mom wants is different than the gift our baby brother wants. But God’s great love shown to us by Jesus being born is the perfect gift for EVERYONE in the whole world!
Scripture: Luke 2 and James 1:17
This is a great family devotion to use leading up to Christmas morning! It includes beautiful illustrations, Scripture readings, discussion questions and downloadable ornaments.
The Legend of the Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree is a beloved symbol of Christmas reminding us of the tree the baby Christ Jesus would eventually shed his blood on to redeem all of humanity. Use the book The Legend of the Christmas Tree to learn together about how the evergreen became a symbol of Christmas and a way to spread the good news of the King of Kings, Jesus.
Scripture: Colossians 2:13-15
Act Out the Nativity
For hundreds of years children have been acting out the nativity in churches around the world. While it may seem like child’s play (any director of said children’s program knows it is NOT) rehearsing the Christmas story can help cement it in the minds and hearts of children and help them see the story as REAL with REAL people experiencing God coming to earth.
- Have them act it out with fun props as you read the Biblical account. Encourage them to switch roles and be dramatic.
- Commission some kids to interview the Bible characters… what did the angels look like to the shepherds? What did the shepherds look like to the angels?
- Small children can act out the story with a nativity like this one made for little hands or this slightly larger wooden one.
Scripture: Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2.
If you’re loving this article you may also enjoy:
- The Best No-Toy Christmas Gift Guide (Updated Annually!)
- Advent Bible Reading Plan with Free Download
- 25 Joyful Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family
- 12 Best Advent Devotionals for Families
- 5 Easy Ways to Volunteer with Kids at Christmas
- See more faith resources here!
5 Advent Devotional Book Ideas
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus — I loved this devotional and it also has lots of practical ideas to do with your family to prepare for the advent season!
Shadow and Light: A Journey Into Advent — This book is perfect for daily devotions leading up to Christmas. “Each day includes Scripture, a reflection, a question, and a simple activity to engage the senses, such as lighting candles, listening to music, and viewing artwork both old and new.”
Honest Advent: Awakening the Wonder of God-with-us Then, Here, and Now — I adored reading this book last Christmas! It pairs God’s Word with daily reading that is practical and insightful and also has gorgeous artwork to study and consider each day.
She Reads Truth: Advent — I have loved many of She Reads Truth annual Advent plans. You can access them on their app or purchase a gorgeous book version filled with additional insights, activities and recipes. (Each year’s plan and book orders generally going live in early November.)
Come, Let Us Adore Him — Paul David Tripp has a wonderful way with words and getting to the heart of our struggles. This devotional is powerful as it draws your heart to simply adore Jesus in a season that can be full of busyness and distraction.
Share these devotionals with your church or use them to kickstart your own family or personal devotional time during the Christmas season!
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