Here's what you'll need:
HERE and I think they're so cute! (Plus it's a free download!) You could mount these on Christmas paper, or you can put them on top of folded scripture cards, or you can just use them alone. Hole punch each card once so that you can thread it onto the ribbon between each section. The number goes under the candy it goes with so that when you untie it to take the number off, you get the candy above it, and then next number and its candy stay securely tied!
After the jump, you can get versions of my devotional scripture readings to go along with the countdown, or a more "meditational" version I designed to be a little more "seeker friendly" with some quotes, carol verses, and a little less scripture. I printed these using a 4.5 inch margin on the left so that they could be folded over into cards with the number on the front.
Less scripture, more quotes and carols:
"Maybe Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!" Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a 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.
O holy Child of Bethlehem Descend to us, we pray Cast out our sin and enter in Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell O come to us, abide with us Our Lord Emmanuel
The simple shepherds heard the voice of an angel and found their lamb; the wise men saw the light of a star and found their wisdom. - Fulton J. Sheen
What can I give Him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part. Yet what can I give Him? I give Him my heart.
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. - Isaiah 9:6
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joyWise Men Still Seek Him
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2: 7
Away in a manger, No crib for His bed The little Lord Jesus Laid down His sweet head The stars in the bright sky Looked down where He lay The little Lord Jesus Asleep on the hay
If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: "God with us." -John F. MacArthur
And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a 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." Luke 2:10-12
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 God rest ye merry, gentlemen Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour Was born on Christmas day To save us all from Satan's power When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy O tidings of comfort and joy
Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a
friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. Oren Arnold
You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father's face and tell him you have received his Christmas gift. John R. Rice
What if December Looked different this year What if we all just Give this Christmas away If there's love in your heart Don't let it stay there Give this Christmas away And your life will be changed By the gifts you receive When you give this Christmas away -Matthew West
More than a child born in the hay,Jesus, my Lord, on that first Christmas day. More than the son of a carpenter man; You carried the weight of the world in Your hand. For You are the Hope of my soul, All that I see, and all that I know.
Happy Birthday, Jesus! I’m so glad it’s Christmas! All the tinsel and lights, and the presents are nice, but the real gift is you. -Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
We all get so hung up on material things at times it seems like we forget what Christmas really means It should be thanks we’re givin’, that’s why I wrote this tune Happy Birthday, Jesus, this song is just for you.
Come on, what have you got to lose -- only
everything -- by considering this greatest of all stories? Maybe you believed the story as a child, but with maturity came skepticism and later unbelief. It truly is the ultimate gift and it has your (and my) name on it. It fits all who try it on and has the additional benefit of having been paid for by someone else. This gift never wears out.
Teach them the true meaning of Christmas, for it is that which has been forgotten. “Letter from Santa”
To think of how it could have been If Jesus had come as He deserved There would have been no Bethlehem No lowly shepherds at His birth But Joseph knew the reason The love had to reach so far. -Jump5
This, this is Christ the King whom Shepherds laud and angels sing! Haste, haste to bring him praise, the babe the son of Mary.
More scripture and reflection devotional:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2 We call Jesus the light of the world. In the winter, days are shorter and darkness seems to last longer. Just like the Christmas lights and candles that light our streets and churches in December, Jesus can light our lives all year.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Talk to your children about the circle of evergreen branches in an Advent wreath. The circle reminds us of God's never ending love, evergreen branches represent faithfulness as they remain green, the center Christ candle reminds us that Christ is the reason for Christmas.
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37 Red and green are used for Christmas, but the traditional color for Advent is purple to remind us of royalty. Purple was a royal color, worn mostly by kings. The color reminds us that even though he came as a baby, Jesus was still a King.
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:1-3 Advent is a time of preparation. We prepare our homes, our presents, special meals, and we also prepare our hearts for Christ. As you prepare your home, remember who you’re really preparing for.
It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done Psalm 92:1-5 Music and worship are important parts of Christmas!When we sing carols like Away in a Manger or O Come O Come Emmanuel, we are praising God and remembering why we celebrate Christmas.
Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and had in mind to divorce her quietly. But an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:18-22, 24 Sometimes, trusting God can be hard, but he always keeps his promises, which Mary and Joseph must have learned first hand.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 Gifts have become an important part of Christmas, but we give them to remember that Jesus was the best gift of all. Sometimes it’s hard to remember Jesus’ gift is real- but remind your children they are confident there will be presents Christmas day, even if they have to wait without seeing.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
God showed us His love by sending His Son as a gift to the world. Think of ways we show each other we love each other, and how much greater still God’s love is.
They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him Mark 15:17 Advent is a time when Christians reflect on Christ becoming human in order to sacrifice himself for the salvation of all people. Purple is the color of royalty, but also of suffering. Just like trees remind us of Jesus’ birth (Christmas trees), and his death (on the wooden cross).
Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. Deuteronomy 32:7 What are your Christmas traditions? Do you decorate with the evergreens and holly used in older European traditions that represent the ongoing life? If you don't have traditions, start one. Traditions help us remember things in the past as we celebrate those things today.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1 Every day, God decorates the world with sunsets, stars, and nature. When you decorate this season, reflect how God makes our world beautiful each day.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel
said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12
The angels' announcement of the birth of Christ was the first proclamation of the good news that Jesus was born. We proclaim things all the time- “It’s time for school!” or “Dinner!”, but this proclamation might have been the best in history!
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15
The shepherds were the first to hear about the birth of Jesus. Though they were not highly regarded by, God chose to share the Good News of Jesus with these people first. Jesus came to save everyone, not just the rich or the famous.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 When we celebrate with things like cards, we can love other people by remembering them. Sending a card to someone in a nursing home or a soldier overseas is a great way to show your, and God’s, love.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 The third week of Advent is about joy. If you are using an Advent wreath, the candle for this week is pink. Our joy comes from our faith in Christ Jesus, and we should share that joy with others!
The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:45- 46 Jesus is the Light of the World. He makes it easier for us to experience God by being present with us. This week, we rejoice with those who were able to see the Father's light through Jesus and anticipate Jesus' return.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:2-3
Christmas is a time that is full of joy. The angels brought abundant joy to Bethlehem with their announcement. Remember their joy as you continue preparing. Try making angel sugar cookies
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
As Christmas day draws closer, more and more lights appear on houses and rooftops. As you walk around these lights, talk about Christ as the Light that guides their steps through every season of life.
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Psalm 98:1-3 "Joy to the world! The Lord is come!" As you sing this song be sure to remember that the real joy of Christmas is found in the birth of Christ.
After Jesus was born Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied....On coming to the house, the Magi saw the child with his mother, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:1-5a, 10 The wise men, also known as the Magi, are some of the most familiar characters in the Christmas story. Today, we remember that Wise Men Still Seek Him.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:8-11
Because Jesus was a king, He could have been born in a royal palace with many servants, but He chose to come among regular people in a shelter meant for animals. What does this tell us about Jesus? How does it show Jesus' humility? How does it show the Father's love?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 The final week of Advent is to remind us of peace. Jesus brings peace into our lives, and if we trust God, he will not let the fear or stress of the world rule our lives. Any holiday can become stressful, remember to invite Christ’s peace into your home this season, and all year.
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. Luke 1:26-38,46-55 Mary, the mother of Jesus, chose to suddenly give up her life and her body to God. In Luke, however, we
read "Mary's Song." Mary is joyful! We, too, can work to have hearts full of love and obedience, just like Mary's. You can read the full version in Luke 1:46-55.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 1 Peter 3:15; Many people are confused about Christmas. Advertisers say it’s about buying. Linus from the “Peanuts” has another idea, and so does Charles Dickens in “A Christmas Carol”. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" says it’s about Santa. How would you answer someone who asks what Christmas is about for you?
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4
Children are special to God. Jesus could have come any way he wanted to, but he chose to come as a baby. He grew up as a child, and he even told his disciples to become like little children. That means even the smallest person this Christmas season is hugely important to God.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:16- 18
After seeing Jesus, the shepherds went and told the good news of the birth of Christ. Christ commanded all Christians to go and share the Good News of His salvation. Christmas is a great time for us to share the Good News, too.
Luke 2:5-32 In years past, Christmas Eve was the traditional night for the hanging of the greenery in the church, though nowadays most congregations and families decorate long before Dec. 24. This delayed decoration represented the transition from a time of waiting and preparation to one of exuberant joy. Tomorrow morning, be sure to celebrate before you start anything else. Read the Christmas story or sing “Happy Birthday”, and remember what the presents and tree are all about.