12 Days of Scriptures about Jesus to Meditate on this Christmas

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.

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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More Important Than Traditions

I’ve often imagined Mary and Joseph introducing the shepherds to baby Jesus in the same way parents bring their new baby to church for the first time—squeaky clean and wearing a ruffly dress.

Members flock around and pass the baby back and forth, commenting on how much the little lump looks like her mom or dad.

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Actually, the stable was probably a bit of a mess. Not only had it recently housed animals, but Mary had also given birth there.

Maybe Jesus hadn’t gotten all his sweet crevices washed out completely.

Maybe he was colicky.

And yet, even as Mary was recovering and welcoming shepherds as  her first post-birth visitors, she treasured all that had happened, pondering it in her heart (Luke 2:19).

She embraced the experience in the midst of her pain and discomfort.

As I read news headlines and see the struggles of friends close to me, I’m reminded that pain isn’t put on hold for the Christmas season, no matter how much tinsel and merry feelings we try to cover it up with.

We long for freedom from disappointments in our family and other relationships.

My mentor Natalie reminded me that many of us put all our energy into trying to make our world look the way we think it should, instead of being okay with our broken lives.

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It’s natural to desire perfection because that’s the way the world was made. It was all good.

But when human sin messed everything up,

God didn’t throw it all away.

He allowed it to be broken.

One of the ways I’ve attempted to fix my world has been through trying to start traditions for my family. I’ve wanted to recreate the moments that I can remember from growing up (though my mom doesn’t seem to remember my childhood holidays as glowingly as I can).

If I could only set the scene with Christmas tree, goodies, laughter, and feelings of peace and goodwill, I would be happy.

 

christmas-1052596_1280When I don’t feel the same way in the present as I remember experiencing in the past, I’ve wanted to take charge of others’ behavior to try and manufacture that joy.

When I’ve tried to be in control of my circumstances, it’s only added to the frustration when I can’t make my husband’s work give him less responsibilities or cause my two year old to reflect on the beauty of advent.

Simple Reminders

On Thanksgiving, as I was listening to the Sons and Daughters Sovereign Grace cd, the Spirit (and probably a few pregnancy hormones) brought tears to my eyes as I realized that what I needed more than recreating the right tradition was a simple memorial or two that would remind me and my family of the gospel.

God made flesh.

God with us.

God to the rescue.

It might not be glittery or be Pinterest-worthy.

We may not get to an Advent reading every night. (Or when we do, our son may be more interested in smashing his peas on his plate one by one, rather than listening to the Scripture.)

It may even keep us from participating in all the “good deed” opportunities that spring up this time of year.

Reminding ourselves and each other of the gospel will free our hearts to enjoy all the other beauties of Christmas.

Maybe it’s a comment to our children about how thankful we are Jesus came to live among us.

Maybe it’s a word of comfort or prayer for a friend who can’t see how God is working.

Maybe it’s a whispered prayer for Jesus’ joy when our husband comes home tired and not eager to listen to our troubles.

Or maybe it’s choosing to laugh when the tree gets knocked over and a few ornaments shatter into a million tiny pieces.

When we focus on the gospel, our souls will be at rest in the Jesus who came as a lumpy baby to live among us, experience life on earth while living it perfectly, and become the sacrifice for all the sins we stain the world with every day.

hot-chocolate-1047608_1280Pain, messiness, and beauty can live together as we remember the reason Jesus came to earth, and then allow ourselves to delight in the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, twinkly icicle lights, gifts that make our children laugh, and the same songs that come back to warm us like an embrace.

 

And when we’re just too distracted by the difficult circumstances to see the beauty on earth, we can grit our teeth and grab hold of the gospel as we acknowledge God’s love and all the other spiritual blessings we might not feel.

Will you take a moment the next time you’re staring at your Christmas tree or a flickering candle, to travel back in time, push aside the straw to sit by Mary as she traces the curves of Jesus’ face?

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Will you reflect on the wonder of it all—God with us?

And will you invite others to do the same?