12 Days of Scriptures about Jesus to Meditate on this Christmas

I put together these Scriptures a few years ago and wanted to offer them again this Advent season. 

Are you ready?

This advent season, we join with God’s people throughout all of history who waited for their Messiah, their Deliverer, to come. But our waiting is different. We get to celebrate the climax of God’s redemption plan in sending Jesus to earth to pay the price for our sins, even as we await His coming again, when we will join with the angels in celebrating Him, and take part in the marriage supper of the Lamb.


The shepherds were amazed and terrified when they saw God’s messengers giving glory to Him as they delivered the good news. Just imagine what it will be like when we will join with the angels and elders and living creatures praising the Lamb on the New Earth.

Rather than spending twelve days trying to figure out why a true love would give turtledoves or milkmaids, I put together twelve days of Scriptures about Jesus to meditate on this Christmas season. I’ve also created a PDF you can print out to use for yourself or your family. (And if you want even more resources, you can check out Paul Tripp’s excellent Advent series and Betsy’s 25 Advent Readings for the Very Young.)

May the joy of Christ fill your traditions, family times, and difficulties this Christmas. He is here. . . and He is coming.


Day 1

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:2-7 ESV)

Day 2

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46-55)

Day 3

And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:67-79)


Day 4

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:14-21)

Day 5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:1-18)

Day 6

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:35-40)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. . . I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:7-11, 14-16)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2)

Day 7

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)


Day 8

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

Day 9

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14)

Day 10

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:8-11)

Day 11

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:6-14)

Day 12

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. . . Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:6-8, 11-16)


Come and See (How to Enjoy Sharing Jesus)

“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (John 4:9)

His request for water was unexpected. She could have walked away.

But she didn’t.

Whether it was curiosity, the Spirit’s working or both, she stayed to talk.

And Jesus started drawing her into the truth. She didn’t understand all the talk of living water, but she kept listening, eventually asking for the water that would allow her to cross off “draw water” from her to-do list each day.


And then Jesus zoomed into her soul. “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” (John 4:16-18)

She could have denied what Jesus revealed about her life of multiple husbands and current sexual sin, but she stayed in the conversation, saying that Jesus must be a prophet.

So Jesus kept pouring the truth into her, about the Father seeking people to worship Him in spirit and truth, which led her to bring up the Messiah. Only then, did Jesus reveal Himself as the Messiah, the One who was to come.

When the disciples returned to Jesus, their looks showed that they didn’t understand why he would be talking to this woman.

But it didn’t stop her.

“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”’ (John 4:28-29)

Other Samaritans came to see the man the woman was talking about and believed “because of the woman’s testimony.” (vs.39) Jesus stayed two days and kept speaking the truth.

They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)

Joy vs. Guilt

Does the command to “make disciples” ever feel more like a burden than a joy?

Do guilt and condemnation creep in when an opportunity is missed, or when you wish you’d responded differently to someone?

Does it feel like when you do take time to pour into someone, the living water seems to evaporate before it reaches their heart?

I have felt validated when people respond positively to a truth I share. I have also let disappointments grow into feelings of insignificance and self-pity when the response I hoped for didn’t happen.

Lately, the Father has lovingly lifted my eyes to a different focus.

Maybe the Samaritan woman struggled with these feelings, but her actions showed her faith. She wasn’t focusing on whether people would believe her. She just had to share, which caused many of her townsfolk to find out more from Jesus Himself.

The first two words from the woman to the people have echoed through my head as I struggle with wanting people to know and grow in the gospel.

Come, see.

Come, see.

Come, see.


God uses so many different ways for His kingdom to come and His truth to be revealed. The results I imagine might be incredibly different than how the Spirit wants to work in people’s lives and in my own life.

But how do I know if I’m doing it right? What if I miss opportunities and don’t know if I’m being a “good and faithful servant?” (Or wishing I’d spent a few more minutes talking to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to my door.)

Nancy Guthrie, in her chapter in Word-Filled Women’s Ministry explained The Parable of the Talents this way:

“We don’t need to fear that we haven’t done enough. (Don’t we, as women, regularly tend to think we haven’t done enough or that we simply aren’t enough?) The real danger being drawn for us in this parable is not the danger of not doing enough for the Master. The two faithful servants receive different amounts and come up with different amounts in the end, and they are both rewarded with exactly the same praise from the Master.

The real danger threatens those who do nothing with what has been entrusted to them, those for whom there is zero return—no response of faith to the gospel, no treasuring the Master, no fruit of the Spirit, no return for the Master’s kingdom—nothing. That’s the point of the third servant, who did nothing with his gift. Because he did nothing, he did not just lose his reward; he lost his life.” (239)

When I’m continuing to let my focus be on treasuring Christ, it will be His love flowing through me onto others, whether they choose to receive it or not.

His kingdom is coming. And I get to be a part of it.

And so do you.

Thanksgiving Joy (an original short story)

tap-791172_1920Rachel pushed the frozen turkey down into the water-filled sink.

Some of it sloshed over the top onto her socks. She’d been up five times last night, and not once had she thought of thawing the turkey.

There’s no way her mom would have forgotten to buy the turkey until the night before Thanksgiving.

This morning she hadn’t even heard Patrick leave, but there must have been an emergency at the electrical plant for them to call him in on a holiday. She turned on the oven.

Pulling out the potatoes from the closet, she picked off as many of the eyes as she could and opened drawer after drawer, trying to find her vegetable peeler.

Cassidy stomped into the kitchen, her blanket squeezed between her crossed arms. “Bryce told me I was too little to play cars with him. He said I always mess everything up.”

Rachel wrapped Cassidy in a hug, but the girl stood firm as a tree trunk. “Maybe you can help me find my vegetable peeler.”

“You’re just going to let him be mean to me?”

Rachel took a deep breath and let Cassidy lead her to the bedroom. Bryce was on his stomach, piecing together a race track. “Have you seen my vegetable peeler?”

Bryce bit his lip. “Um, me and Kirk were digging trenches for the ants yesterday and one of us kind of snapped it.”

Cassidy put a hand on her hip. “Mommy, you’re supposed to be giving him a spanking.”

Rachel bent down, but couldn’t think of what to say. She heard squeaks coming from the other room, followed by Grace’s wailing from her bassinet.

feet-946366_1280Rachel leaned her head against the doorframe.

Even in her first three weeks of life, Grace seemed so much needier than the other two had been . . . unless she had blocked those first newborn weeks out of her mind.

If she waited much longer, Grace would have an even harder time latching on. She winced as she stood and scooped Grace into her arms.

Sinking down into the recliner, she heard something whack the wall, followed by a “Go away!”

At least Grace was content, and Rachel wasn’t as sore as she’d been yesterday.

A charred scent filled the air. Not wanting to disturb Grace, she tried to use her free hand to stand. Grace whipped her head to the side and crunched her face as if Rachel had pinched her. Sighing, Rachel set her down and bolted over to the oven.

She pulled out the cookie sheet of three leftover chicken nuggets, which now resembled charcoals. Dumping them outside, she opened some windows and tried to coax Grace from her anguished state into nursing again.

Cassidy and Bryce’s voices crescendoed from the other room, so she threw together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and set up a show for them.

The turkey still felt like an iceberg in the sink.

How had her mom done it with three kids of her own? Dad hadn’t let them get a TV until they were teenagers. Rachel had always been annoyed when her mom made her work in the kitchen all morning, especially since her brothers only had to help Dad put up the Christmas lights.

Christmas lights. She hadn’t bought any new ones in three years, since there had been a short in part of one string.

She grabbed a glass dish. She could at least put together her green bean casserole while she was waiting for the turkey and avoiding the fact that she’d have to peel the potatoes with a knife. Pushing aside cans, she finally sat back on the floor as she realized she’d used her last can of mushroom soup two nights ago.

When she closed her eyes, her hunger came on her like a bear, so that she hardly knew what she was doing until the bag of Cheetos was empty. She’d never seen her mom nibble on anything while they were cooking the big meal.

Crumpling the bag into her fists, she tossed it onto the floor. If only she could call her mom now. She’d know how to whip it all together.

Rachel wiped her eyes. Giving birth to Grace had made her even more emotional than she thought was possible. Lots of people lost their moms, and many more of her friends would in the next fifteen years.

But no one else knew what it was like to lose her mom. She just wanted the meal to be like she’d had growing up, since it was the first Thanksgiving without her. Why had she invited her mom’s best friend instead? So that she’d have someone else to witness her failure?

The doorbell rang, and she dived for the Cheetos bag, stuffing it into the bottom of the trashcan. When she passed the wall clock, she thought for sure it was broken. It couldn’t possibly be 3pm. That meant that if she put the turkey in now, they might be able to eat by eight. The thought made her throat constrict, but she swallowed hard before opening the door.

hands-195653_1920Marilyn stood outside, clutching a tin-foil covered pie pan and wearing her plastic rain bonnet, which she tied on even if it wasn’t calling for rain.

She stepped around Rachel and across the living room into the kitchen. Rachel saw her survey the surroundings as if it were a crime scene.

“I thought I’d come over a little early to help get things ready.”

Rachel shuffled toward her. “My vegetable peeler is—“

“Of no concern. It just so happens I put a few things in my freezer when I thought my niece and nephew were coming. I’ll be back in twenty minutes.” She steered Rachel out of the kitchen.


Cassidy came bursting into the living room. “It’s my turn to pick a show. Bryce always picks boring ones.”

Marilyn bent down. “I’m going to need your help soon. Can you start setting the table while I’m gone?”

Cassidy’s eyebrows lifted. “How did you know that’s my job?”

Grace started to whimper, so Rachel picked her up.

Marilyn turned to Rachel and nodded toward the kitchen. “Remember, not one foot in there unless Cassidy can’t reach something.”

By the time Rachel had finished nursing Grace, Marilyn was carrying in grocery bags. She took Grace from Rachel’s arms and set her in the baby swing. “What perfect timing. Now you’ll be free to lay down until supper is ready.”

Rachel grabbed a bag and started setting dishes on the counter. “What are you talking about? I can’t let you do it all yourself.”

Marilyn’s eyes wrinkled. “Who do you think helped your mother out when you were Cassidy’s age? And I can assure you a Norman Rockwell turkey was not on the menu.”


Rachel woke to a soft knock on the door. She’d only planned to lay down for a few minutes before helping Marilyn. When she opened the bedroom door, the smell of turkey made her mouth water.

“How did you—“

Patrick took her arm and pulled out her chair. She sat down, feeling like she was in a dream. There was even a small candle lit on either side of the platter of turkey loaf. Her eyes scanned the paper table cloth where Cassidy and Bryce had drawn pictures of turkeys and pilgrims.

A can of cranberry sauce. Greenbean casserole. A small dish of mashed potatoes in a foil pan.

Marilyn handed her a paper napkin. “They make it pretty easy these days.”

“You said when you helped my mom, you didn’t have turkey. But I wanted to make it just like I remembered.”

Marilyn laughed. “You think she did a whole turkey dinner with three little kids running around? She didn’t start the real fixings until you were old enough to help.”

After a few minutes, Bryce pressed his lips together. “Can we have pie now, or do we have to wait?”

squash pieMarilyn took off the foil. “I think I have a little extra room in my hollow leg.”

Cassidy peeked under the table, gently poking Marilyn’s knee until Marilyn put a slice of pie in front of her.

Rachel let Marilyn dish her up a piece, too. When she took a bite, she almost choked. She’d thought it was pumpkin. Tears burned her eyes. “It’s just like hers.”

“Your mom always made the perfect squash pie. I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to follow her recipe exactly.”

Rachel let the last bit of crust rest on her tongue before chewing. “I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come. You fixed everything.”

Marilyn placed her wrinkly hand over Rachel’s. “Can’t you see that nothing was ever broken?  Your mama would have loved sitting at this table. I see so much of her in you. But sometimes you both needed to just see the elegance in a microwaved dinner. “

Rachel stood to help clear the dishes, but Patrick tugged her over to the couch. “I’ll take care of it. I think the kids need to hear a little more about all the work you had to do when you were helping your mom with Thanksgiving dinner.”

Cassidy bounded over to the couch. “Can I hold baby Grace?”

Rachel tucked pillows around her and placed Grace in her arms. Bryce snuggled into her side while she rubbed his back. “Hey Mom, do you think we can have this food again sometime? I could help you even.”

Rachel laid her head on top of his. “I’d like that.”