Celebrate a Christ-centered Christmas this holiday season with our 12 days of Christmas: Christmas Devotional for kids! This devotional is designed to help you and your children keep Jesus at the center of this season. Join us for 12 days of Bible study, guided questions, thoughtful commentary, and activities to point the whole family away from the North Pole and to a little manger in Bethlehem.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
I adore the whole Christmas season, but often, we get so caught up in the details we forget what we are celebrating.
There is a lot of pressure on Moms to create Christmas magic. We are expected to pull out all the stops, bake all the cookies, buy all the presents, place and replace that silly elf day in and day out. In our rush to throw Jesus the perfect birthday party, we often forget to invite Him.
This devotional was made with you in mind. I know at the end of the day you want to enjoy this season for what it truly is, and your hope is that your children will also.
The 12 Days of Christmas devotional begins on December 13th and ends on December 24th. It encompasses the story of God and His Creation- from the Garden of Eden to the rugged cross. We will trace the prophecies and promises of who Jesus would be and what He would do. Ending in a lowly manger in Bethlehem and standing in awe of the greatest gift ever given.
Join us this season as we study the true meaning of Christmas, and aim our arrows away from the constant consumerism of this season and into God’s word.
Got questions about Christmas and whether or not Christians should celebrate it? Check out our blog on If/How Christians Should Celebrate Christmas here!
How to utilize these devotionals this Christmas
This study is laid out over the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
It is designed to teach our children not only about that silent night in Bethlehem but also about who Jesus was and why He came to earth.
During this study, we will trace His presence from Genesis to Matthew, through prophesies and promises of who this baby would be and all that He would accomplish.
This blog will contain the Scripture reading and devotionals for each day.
This devotional is designed to serve you and your family. Simplify, skip, condense, and plan it as you see fit! (Especially for young children.) The goal is to make Jesus the center of the season. Devotionals are a great way to do that but don’t get overwhelmed by feeling that you must check all the boxes.
12 Days of Christmas Devotional for Children
Day 1: John 1:1-4, 10-14
John probably seems like an odd place to start our study, but actually, the gospel of John starts with a look back to where it all began- the very beginning.
There are four gospels in the New Testament, four accounts of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Through these primary accounts, we get a first-hand look at Jesus. The start of John; however, is so incredibly profound. Where was Jesus when the earth was created? Well, let’s read and find out!
Read: John 1:1-4. 10-14
So where was Jesus when the earth was spoken into existence?
He was there.
Jesus didn’t first show up on the scene one silent night in Bethlehem.
He was the word of God at the very beginning!
He has always been and will always be!
Over the next 12 days, we are going to try and find the true treasure of Christmas. God left us clues all throughout the Bible. Across many generations- from the very beginning- God has given us clues for where to find His special treasure!
Day 2: Genesis 3:1-15
Today we are going to go over the first clue that God ever gave us for finding His treasure. All of the Bible is a map leading us to one destination, let’s see if we can figure out what it is!
Read Genesis 3:1-15
The best lies (or should I say the worst) always have a little bit of truth in them. You see God had given His children one rule, and that rule was there to protect them. Just like how your parents may tell you to stay away from the road.
When the serpent came to Eve, his goal was to twist the Word of God. To convince her that what God had said wasn’t said out of love, but instead said only to keep her from being like Him. Satan knew that disobeying God would result in separation from God. He knew because it had already happened to him. He, too, wanted to be like God and he convinced many of God’s own angels to rebel against Him.
But Eve listened. She did as the serpent said, and Adam did the same.
God was heartbroken.
He was now separated from His beloved children. God had to send them out from the home He had made for them, otherwise, they might eat from The Tree of Life and live forever in their broken state.
Apart from God, the world is a broken place. So right there in the garden of Eden, as God hands out punishments for disobedience- He makes a promise to the serpent.
Genesis 3:15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
This is our first clue.
God says someone is coming. He says it will be an offspring of Eve- meaning one of her children’s children. We do not know what generation He will come from but we know we can trace Him back to Adam and Eve.
We are also told that while the serpent (Satan) will bruise His heel, He will bruise his head.
So Satan will get a hit on this Promised Treasure, but He will have the final blow. The deathly blow.
Day 3: Genesis 18:17-18, Genesis 22:1-14
This next clue that God has given us, He gave to a man named Abram.
Abram is a descendant of Adam and Eve, he lives in a land called Ur.
One day God told him to pack up and go to a land that his family would inherit. So Abram packs up and moves to a land that he does not know.
Throughout Abram’s life, God visited him many times, and Abram did something amazing- he believed God. Even when what God tells him doesn’t make sense, he still believes Him. Is there anything too hard for God?
His faith in God is counted as righteousness, and Abram receives a new name, an amazing promise, an heir, and more descendants than the sands on the seashore or the stars in the sky. Let’s read about him now!
Read Genesis 18:17-18
We are told here that Abraham, though he is an old man with no children will become a great nation, and through him, all the earth will be blessed.
This is our next clue.
This Promised Treasure will come not only through Eve, but through Abraham and his wife Sarah.
And so at 90 years old, Sarah has a son, named Isaac. God’s promise has been fulfilled. But then God asks for the unthinkable.
Read Genesis 22:1-14
God didn’t want Isaac harmed, He had big- amazing plans for little Isaac. All He wanted was for Abraham to trust Him. If Abraham could trust God with his most beloved treasure, then God could use Abraham to give us His most beloved treasure.
You see God never asks us to give up our children. No those are precious gifts from God, but God would require someone to give up their only Son.
Someday from the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah- a Son would come and He too would walk a hill with wood on His back like Isaac. And He too would be held down as a sacrifice for sins- the sins of the world. He would take the final blow of death. Hell, and the grave for all of us.
God would never ask Abraham to give up His only son; the pain of that is so great, that God would only require that of Himself.
Day 4: Exodus 12:1-13
Well just as God had said, Abraham’s family grew.
And grew and grew and grew.
God had said that from Abraham His Precious Treasure would come from Isaac, then from Isaac’s son Jacob, and then from Jacob’s son Judah.
Jacob’s family had fled to Egypt during a time of famine. You may remember the story of Joseph and how his brothers sold him, but in the end, he saved his entire family. Now God’s chosen family is living in Egypt.
But as Abraham’s family grew, Pharoah became nervous. What if the Hebrews arose and overthrew him?
He instructed that all of the Hebrew boys who were born be killed so that they would not grow up to be soldiers and take his kingdom from him.
What do you think God thought about all this?
God sent a deliverer to rescue His people, a man named Moses. Through dreadful plagues like frogs, locusts, and darkness, Pharoah refused to let God’s people go. And so at last God struck the land the same way Pharoah had struck the Hebrews. Let’s read Exodus 12 to see what happens!
And remember God is leaving us clues all the time to help us find His treasure, see if you can spot the clue today!
Read Exodus 12:1-13
Did you spot any clues about God’s Promised treasure?
In 1 Corinthians 5:7, we read, “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
So Christ (God’s treasure) is to be our perfect, blemish-free Passover lamb.
Day 5: Psalm 22:1-21
We are jumping pretty far ahead here, but we only have 8 days until Christmas!
This Psalm is written by a man named David.
You probably know him!
He’s the same one who defeated Goliath, the same one who became the King of Israel. And we are told that from this David a new King will arise- God’s Promised Treasure, the King of Kings.
David lived possibly 1,000 years before the first Christmas.
That’s a really long time. So this next reading may surprise you.
Read Psalm 22:1-21
Did it perhaps sound a little like the way Jesus would die?
In fact, His very words on the cross are laid out in this Psalm.
But this was written long before the time of Jesus, This chapter perfectly explains Roman crucifixion before this way of death was even invented.
So how could David have known?
How could David have written such a Psalm so specific to the death of Jesus 1,000 years before it happened?
This is what we call Prophecy.
Prophesy is saying something specific that will happen in the future.
Only God Himself could give such a prophecy. And He did.
He did it so that when it happened the Jews would look up at the rugged cross and know they had heard this story before, and this surely was the Promised One of God.
Day 6: Isaiah 7:10-16, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 53
Have you ever heard anything about Isaiah?
Even if you aren’t familiar with Isaiah, you probably have heard some of the clues he gave us.
Isaiah was a prophet.
Before Jesus, there weren’t a lot of ways for the average person to communicate with God. They made sacrifices in the temple and learned the books of Moses- Genesis-Dueteronomy, but they didn’t have prayer quite like we have it today. Of course, they prayed, and God heard them, but He used prophets to communicate back.
This all comes back to the fall in the garden and the separation that came between God and His creation.
So in the Old Testament God used prophets to speak His words to the world.
Isaiah is a long book in our Bible filled with history and prophecy, and in that, he gave us all kinds of clues as to who God’s Treasure would be even though he lived some 700 years before the first Christmas. So let’s read some of Isaiah, and see if you can spot some clues.
(Note to Mamas: I realize some of these readings are a bit long and may not captivate a toddler audience, condense it down as you see fit. The goal is to help them understand that Jesus was the Promised One. Painting a picture of how He would save the whole world helps them understand why a baby in a manger is so exciting!)
Read Isaiah 7:10-16, Isaiah 40:3-5, Isaiah 53
From Isaiah 7:
What are some clues that God gave to Isaiah to share with the world?
The name Immanuel was given to Isaiah as the name for the baby that would be born, do you know what Immanuel means?
Immanuel means “God with us.”
So this baby who would be born would be both fully God and fully man. That very Word at the beginning was putting on flesh and would be born of a woman.
Every baby that is born has both a Mama and a Daddy, but Jesus was different. He didn’t have an earthly daddy, His Father was God. (Joseph would of course help raise Jesus as long as he lived, but God was His true, Father.)
From Isaiah 9
Do you remember how we talked about David yesterday? The Promised Treasure was to be of the lineage of Kings, the line of David. He will come from the city of David (Bethlehem). Remember that because that’s an important clue!
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
This chapter of the Bible is so significant that those who choose to believe that Jesus was not the Promised One of God refuse to read it.
Isaiah 53 tells us that this Treasure will be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. It says that He will be rejected. And for our sins, He will be beaten and bruised.
This is the Lamb that will die in our place.
God will place the sin of the world upon an innocent man.
He will be killed and in His death, we will have life.
Because He was killed, we will be saved.
Because He laid in the grave, we can escape death.
With His wounds, we are healed.
If the story ends there, with this precious treasure buried forever, this would be a sad story.
But this is the greatest story ever told and it has the happiest of all endings.
Day 7:Malachi 4:
The last Chapter of our Old Testament is very significant. Malachi 4 is the last prophecy, the last promise of God’s treasure before 400 years of silence.
Let’s read Malachi 4 together.
Did anything stand out to you in that chapter? Any clues?
Chapter 4:2, says “But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.”
To fear God means to be reverent of Him, to offer Him the respect, glory, and honor He is deserving of. And to those who fear Him, a promise is made.
Lastly, God tells us the Spirit of Elijah will return first.
Elijah is a prophet in the Old Testament. Perhaps you have heard of him, and how Elijah didn’t see death because God sent a chariot of fire to get him when his time came to leave earth.
Now we are told that he will return, Isaiah 40:3-5 speaks of this also:
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
So with a final clue, God stops speaking to His people.
And 400 Years of Silence begin.
Day 8: Matthew 1
We are often tempted to skip over Matthew 1, but it is incredibly important to know the lineage of Jesus. Why do you think that is?
Just as we have read the past few days, Jesus had to come from a certain family. Not just any little boy could be the Treasure we are seeking. He had to come from the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob- from the tribe of Judah, the family of David, a descendent of Solomon- David’s son.
Read Matthew 1. Take note of any names that stand out to you.
Did you recognize any names? Which ones?
Did Jesus come from the line the Promised One was supposed to come from?
Let’s reread verse 18.
Do you remember how 700 years before Isaiah said that a woman who was not yet married would have a baby? Joseph was willing to raise Jesus after the angel met with him, but he wasn’t Jesus’s father.
Jesus was the son of God!
These clues that God has given us are falling into place. Soon we too shall see His Treasure!
Day 9: Luke 1: 5-25; 39-45
(*Mamas, feel free to condense or summarize for younger audiences!)
Do you remember how we read the last chapter of Malachi before those 400 years of silence? Do you remember who God promised would return before the Lord? (the spirit of Elijah)
Well just as God had promised that came to pass. Let’s read Luke 1 to find out a bit more!
Read Luke 1:5-25;39-45
Just as Abraham and Sarah were promised a baby when Sarah could not have one, so were Elisabeth and Zacharias.
This baby would be the promised forerunner of the Messiah, the spirit of Elijah returning.
In fact, Jesus tells us that Himself in Matthew 11:7-14.
John is one of the first to share the news of the Promised Treasure of God. Even in his mother’s belly, he leaps to share the news that the Messiah is coming!
All of God’s clues are unfolding, and in just a few short days- His treasure will be revealed!
Day 10: Luke 1:26-38, 46-56
The Story of Mary
You probably know the story of Mary quite well. How she was told that she would have a baby and how God used her as a Mama to bring His treasure into the world.
What an amazing calling!
Today we are going to read about Mary! How she responded to God’s call and the song that she sang as she carried out God’s plans!
Read Luke 1: 26-38; 46-56
Imagine, this young girl out of Nazareth called to bear the Son of God! It must have been scary and exciting all at once., But Mary was willing!
But how could a young girl out of Nazareth be the one to bear God’s treasure? The Old Testament says He will come from Bethlehem, like His father, David.
Well, it just so happens that there was a census that year, and as the family of David- Jospeh and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted.
Day 11: The Story of the Magi
Let’s play a little trivia game!
How many wise men were there?
When did they come to visit Jesus?
You may know the correct answers, but I’m betting most people say 3 and on the night He was born. Did you know that the Bible doesn’t actually tell us how many wise men there were? And they didn’t actually come to see Jesus on the night He was born.
So where did we get these ideas from and what really happened when these wise men came to visit Jesus?
Well let’s read and find out!
Read Matthew 2:1-12; Isaiah 60:3-7
What did the wise men bring to Jesus?
These gifts had a far greater meaning than just being expensive. Gold represents kingship. Frankincense was used in the temple alongside all peace and burnt offerings. It represented holiness. Myrrh is symbolic of death and mourning. It was used for anointing dead bodies. (Discuss with your children how each of those corresponds with Jesus Christ.)
Where do you think we got the idea of three wise men?
If you guessed because of three gifts- you’re right. There are also three places mentioned in verse 6 of Isaiah. There very well could have been three- or seven- or twenty. It matters less about how many there were and more about why they were willing to come such a distance to present these gifts to a small child.
So when did they come? We often place them in our manger scene alongside the shepherds and Mary and Joseph, but in reality, Jesus was probably somewhere around 2 years old before the Wise Men actually visited.
We are told in Luke 2:24 that Mary and Joseph brought an offering of a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. This was the offering required by the law from the poorest couples. We know the wise men had not visited before Mary visited the temple with Jesus because their offering shows that they were very poor.
Day 12: Christmas Eve: Luke 2
Take some time today to read through Luke 2:1-20.
Take some time to reflect on the past 12 days with your children.
What clues do you remember?
Have you learned anything?
Can you imagine what the first Christmas must have been like? The sights. The smells. It is somewhat of an odd scene- the KIng of Kings laid in a manger amongst animals. His visitors- shepherds from the fields. Shepherds were seen as dirty- outcasts in society. But here they are- witnessing God’s treasure firsthand. Joy overwhelmed their hearts.
The birth of Jesus changed the world. That first promise from Genesis is fulfilled as a descendant of Eve takes center stage. He came from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A root of Jesse. Descendent of David. All of our Bible stories leading us to Him.
To this tiny manger on the first Christmas.
His name is Immanuel- God with us.
Our Passover Lamb.
He heals the sick. The lame walk. The broken are made whole. Just to touch the hem of His garment is enough to heal. He fulfills the law and makes all the broken pieces somehow fit together.
This is the treasure, where every clue has led us.
We are guided to this place by the star that marks the spot. The spot where God’s treasure lies wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
Gaze with wonder upon the scene of the first Christmas night.
God’s plan is coming together. 400 years of silence- suddenly broken with the sound of a baby’s cry.
This is the Word of God. And someday He will walk the side of a mountain with wood upon His back- much like Isaac. But no one will come to His rescue. The sin of the world will be placed upon Him. He will be beaten, bruised, and ultimately killed. And with His stripes, we are healed.
But God’s treasure can never stay buried. In three days, He will return. And death, hell, and the grave are conquered by His hands.
So take some time today to stand in awe. To look back to the manger scene, the cross, and the empty tomb. To remember that today is about so much more than gifts and Christmas trees.
There is great joy to be found this Christmas season, but the truth is you won’t find it underneath the Christmas tree, the mistletoe, or even in your family members.
The real meaning of Christmas is so much more than gifts, meals, or holiday traditions.
Christmas is when we reflect on how the Savior of the world took on flesh. How the Creator became like His creation. The sacrifice that took us from being separated from God to being children of the King and joint heirs with Christ.
Mamas the Christmas story is part of the gospel story-the greatest story ever told. And the best thing about this story is, it never stops. We can be part of this story if we aren’t already. Our children can be part of the story, too. Christmas day is a great time to surrender to Jesus and to choose to follow Him. You’ll never receive a better gift.
Enjoy these Christmas devotions with your little ones!
With all of my heart, I wish you a Merry Christmas. Thank you for spending this season with us!
From our family to yours, Happy Aiming! And Merry Christmas!