Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?


Christmas is mostly celebrated as a single, climactic event—a long lead up, a big celebration, and the next day we’re already off to Boxing Day sales or after-Christmas clearouts. But something as momentous as the incarnation of Jesus needs so much more than a day to adequately celebrate. That is why the Christian calendar sets aside twelve days to celebrate and linger over the incarnation (which is where we get that familiar, but very strange, “partridge in a pear tree” song).

The twelve-day Christmas season, beginning on Christmas Day, may be the healing remedy needed to reclaim this holiday from merchants and marketers. After all the annoying ads and repetitive jingles fade, when everyone else is burned out on Christmas or has moved on to year-end reviews or gym memberships, now the follower of Jesus can focus on the meaning of the Christmas miracle.

It’s a season of light in darkness, where we are taken deeper into the growing light of the Word made flesh. Reflecting on the birth of Jesus, we have time to delight in the how of incarnation as we’re also led into deeper wonder of its meaning for our world. At the heart of the Christmas season is the mystery of the incarnation, of God becoming human. The Christian faith is, at the same time, both wonderfully material and mystical, having no truck with escapist spirituality.

The Christmas season grounds our faith in space and time—this world that is broken, this body that bleeds. Materiality is not an embarrassment to God; he created it and revels in it. Christmas calls us to live incarnationally, to embody our faith in our local neighborhoods, following the lead of Jesus, the Word who left heaven and “moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message).

Call to Prayer

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Ps. 100:1-2)

Scripture Reading

Readings: Psalm 99:1-5 + John 1:9-14, 16-18

Read the passages above.
Then spend a moment in quiet stillness before God.
(Click on the link to read each of the passages, or turn there in your Bible)

The Promise of Jesus’ Return

For many of us, Christmas Day is one of the most important days of the entire year, which is obvious given the intense amount of preparation that often goes into it. We adjust schedules, plans, and budgets months in advance. Family members travel in from far away. Decorations are perfectly placed, menus are planned, and gifts are purchased, wrapped, and hidden. There is intentionality, joy, and anticipation, all because this day is significant. And also because we believe it is a reality.

Christmas isn’t a pretend day; it’s real. We wouldn’t go through all the trouble to prepare if
we didn’t believe Christmas was, in fact, an actual day. We trust it to come on the same date every year. Out of love and expectation, we make every necessary preparation, so that when it becomes our reality, we are ready.

We spend months preparing to celebrate and remember Christ’s first coming. How much
more should we seek to be ready for His second coming? That day, too, is a reality, an absolute certainty. Unlike Christmas Day, which happens every December 25, only the Father knows the day and hour His Son will return. But He is coming. In the fullness of time, He will split the sky and descend to destroy all wickedness, receive the worship that is rightfully His, and usher in a new age—the beginning of unbroken, unending fellowship with Him. We should believe in, think about, look to, and prepare for that day.


Unseen God, I sometimes wonder: what are you like? Thank you for not leaving me in the dark but making yourself known in Jesus. Because he is one with you, I see exactly what you are like in him, a perfect reflection of your glory. Give me the eyes to see you and faith to serve you. Amen. (prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Question 10).

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year


“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” (Luke 1:68)