Christmas is a powerful and moving season for Christians and non-Christians alike. But sometimes, the season's meaning can get lost in all the activities and pageantry. These 22 Bible verses for Christmas will help keep us focused on what we're celebrating.
Whether you're looking for a biblical passage to put in your Christmas cards, to share on social media, or simply to reflect on during this busy season, you'll find something meaningful here.
1. The virgin will conceive (Isaiah 7:14)
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
If Jesus wasn't the Messiah, it would have been simply impossible to fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies that spoke of Him. Isaiah himself foretells many specific facts about Jesus 700 years before the Lord's birth.
2. To us a Child is born (Isaiah 9:6)
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
No earthly ruler would be capable of what Isaiah says of this coming King. Sure, a sovereign might offer wise counsel, bring peace, and be a powerful protector, but no Israelite would have called any king "mighty God."
The prophet points to Jesus, our mighty Prince of Peace.
3. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah (Micah 5:2)
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times."
After the Magi visit Herod, he pulls together the law's chief priests and teachers to determine where the Messiah will be born (Matthew 2). This is the passage they point to as a prophecy for the location of the Lord's birth.
4. Your king comes to you (Zechariah 9:9)
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
This passage speaks of Jesus coming into Jerusalem at the end of His ministry. But it's often mentioned in connection to Christmas because it's such an inspiring picture of Jesus coming to save us as a humble victor.
5. You are to give Him the name Jesus (Matthew 1:21)
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.
An angel of the Lord comes to Joseph and tells him not to be afraid to marry Mary. The Holy Spirit conceived the child she is carrying, and they are to give the child the name Jesus. This name means "Yahweh saves".
6. Will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35)
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."
An angel named Gabriel tells Mary that she will have a son. Naturally, she struggles to understand because she's a virgin. The angel tells her that she will conceive when the Holy Spirit overshadows her.
Not only is the Lord called the "Son of God," but He also called Himself the "Son of Man." To learn a little bit more about this mysterious title, check out the post Why Did Jesus Call Himself the Son of Man?
7. God keeps His promises (Luke 1:37)
For no word from God will ever fail.
This is the angel's final assurance when Mary responds in wonder at the news of her pregnancy. At face value, we see the beauty of this statement in the simple fact that everything the angel tells Mary will come to pass. But when we consider how Jesus fulfilled thousands of years' worth of prophecies, it becomes even more poignant.
We can put our faith in God's word.
8. The song of Mary (Luke 1:46–55)
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.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors."
In one of the most beautiful Scripture passages, Mary responds to the news of her pregnancy with wonder and worship. In this song, Mary celebrates God's goodness, exalts His might, and looks forward to a time when Jesus overturns the world's values.
9. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger (Luke 2:6–7)
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
The apostle John tells us that when he had a vision of the glorified Jesus, he fell at the Lord's feet like a dead man (Revelation 1:17). Think about that for a moment. John spent three years with Jesus, but that didn't prepare him to see the Lord as He truly is.
What's impressive is that this powerful Being chose to set aside His divinity and be born to a young peasant girl and laid in a feeding trough. His humility is as inspiring as His majesty.
10. In the town of David a Savior has been born (Luke 2:11)
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Here the angels announce the birth of Jesus to some shepherds who are tending their flocks. Notice all the descriptors they use for the infant: Savior, Messiah, Lord. It's beautiful and encouraging that God's birth announcement doesn't go out to the rich and powerful but to uneducated field workers.
11. Peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14)
"Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
After announcing Christ's birth to the shepherds, Luke tells us that a host of angels appeared and began praising God. Imagine how these shepherds must have felt. For years, the most exciting thing to happen to them was probably the need to scare off an occasional predator. And then one evening out of the blue, this happens?
The angels' worship ends with this proclamation, "On earth peace to those on whom His favor rests." Thanks to Jesus's sacrifice, God's favor is available to all.
12. Praising God for all the things they had heard (Luke 2:20)
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On the angel's recommendation, the shepherds visit the newborn King and become the first evangelists. Luke tells us, "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 2:17–18)."
Returning to the fields, the shepherds praise God for this incredible experience. And again, we see Luke's recurring theme around the Christmas story. The shepherds discover things exactly as they had been told. God always comes through and fulfills His promises.
13. In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1–5)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John doesn’t begin his Gospel with the nativity story. He launches it with a profound theological soliloquy reminiscent of the Creation story. His readers would have immediately made the connection between his opening words and the words of Genesis: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
Jesus's origin story doesn't begin in a manger. In fact, He doesn't have an origin story. He was there initially, and everything we know was made by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). Some of Christianity's critics suggest that the idea that Jesus was God developed over time. As John demonstrates in his Gospel's opening lines, early Christians always worshipped Jesus as God.
14. The true light was coming into the world (John 1:9–10)
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
The light motif that John introduces in this passage is also reminiscent of Genesis. The author of Genesis tells us that the earth was formless and void and covered in darkness, and God’s first act was to speak into existence a light that separated the darkness.
Here John tells us that Jesus is the true light. He is what separates the darkness from the light.
15. The Word became flesh (John 1:14)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John's opening homily finds its crescendo here. This Word of God that was there in the beginning and through which everything was created put on our flesh and entered into our experience.
He tells us that the disciples were eyewitnesses to his glory. His Gospel's unfolding story tells us about this Messiah so full of grace and truth.
16. Look, the Lamb of God (John 1:29)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
All of Jerusalem was coming out to witness John the Baptist, the wild prophet in the wilderness. One day, Jesus appears on the horizon, and John calls out, "Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."
His audience would recognize the metaphor. From Passover onward, the Lamb symbolized the sacrifice and covering for sin.
17. He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16–17)
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 is arguably the Bible's most famous verse. It encapsulates the gospel message, especially when paired with verse 17. Jesus came into the world to save it, not to condemn it. This child in the manger was here to rescue humanity and set us free.
Isaac Watts explained it well in the third verse of "Joy to the World":
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
18. The gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In the center of the Garden of Eden were two trees. The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God instructed Adam that they were not to eat of the latter tree. If they did, they would certainly die (Genesis 2:16–17). When they disobeyed, sin and death entered into the human experience.
All of us are under a curse. And without Jesus's intervention, death is the outcome. But the gift we received on that first Christmas was the promise of eternal life. This child would sacrifice Himself to free us from the curse—and His resurrection would conquer death.
19. That we might receive adoption (Galatians 4:4–5)
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
The incarnation wasn't early, and it wasn't late. Jesus came into the world at just the right time. Paul's adoption metaphor would have been meaningful to his Gentile audience. If a wealthy family didn't have children of their own, they would adopt someone to become their heir and inherit their wealth.
This is what God did for us. Through Jesus, we can all be God's children and inheritors of His kingdom.
20. He made Himself nothing (Philippians 2:5–7)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
In his desire to create harmony in the Philippian church, Paul writes one of his most touching passages about Jesus. He exposes us to an image of a God willing to lay aside His might and power to put on our fragile flesh and walk among us. Paul tells us that He chose to become a servant.
If there was ever anyone whose experience was below them, it was Jesus. He wasn't only above the abuse He took, He was also above the whole human experience. But He laid aside the privilege of deity to come and make us holy.
21. Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15–17)
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul frames the incarnation as a rescue mission. Jesus came into the world to liberate us and save us from our captors. What's inspiring here is that Paul calls himself the worst of sinners. He isn't looking at others as the reason that Jesus had to come; Paul considers himself the great transgressor.
The patience and mercy that Jesus shows Paul leads the apostle to write one of the most rousing benedictions ever, "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
22. The kindness and love of our Savior appeared (Titus 3:4–5)
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Christmas is the celebration of God's kindness and love appearing in the form of an infant. But that was only the beginning. The real gift was the mercy and sacrifice Jesus displayed on the cross. When we couldn't save ourselves, He came to our rescue—at significant cost to Himself.
As Paul points out, He didn't save us because of our righteousness. On the contrary, He saved us despite our lack of righteousness.
What's so special about Christmas?
There's no question that Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays on earth. All around the globe, people put up decorations, share gifts, and remember the story of God invading the world as a child. What's impressive about this season is that it's more than a heartfelt mythological festival. It really happened.
And that makes all the difference.
If you're interested in diving deeper into the Christmas story, check out the following articles: