Of all the world's holidays, Christmas is one of the strangest. It's one of the most universally celebrated holidays despite the fact that it's so uniquely tied to a specific religious event.
For Christians, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, the One who had come to save humanity from their sins. But for many who don't acknowledge this event, the holiday is still an important cultural tradition that is intensely meaningful.
What's fascinating about Christmas is that it's the one time of year when even skeptics are a little more open to the wonder of the season. It's not strange to hear the gospel message expressed in Christmas songs in the most secular environments, and Christmas Eve is one of the highest-attended church services every year.
We've pulled together a list of meaningful quotes about Christmas that concentrate on the holiday's Christian roots and address its cultural significance. If you're looking for content to share in Christmas cards, decorations, holiday speeches, sermons, or Christmas service PowerPoint slides, you'll find a lot of great material here.
These Christmas quotes fall into three categories:
- The meaning of Christmas
Quotes focusing on the importance of the season and what it means for us
- The Incarnation
Quotes zeroing in on the birth of Jesus and its theological implications for humankind
- Christmas memories
Quotes looking back on meaningful Christmas experiences
Quotes about the meaning of Christmas
One meaningful thing about the Christmas season is that we see the significance and impact Jesus's birth has on believers and non-believers alike. The following quotes examine how this 2,000-year-old event affects us during the holidays.
1. "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
2. "For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning—not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last." ― Frederick Buechner
3. "There has been only one Christmas—the rest are anniversaries."― W. J. Cameron
4. "When we were children, we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?" — G. K. Chesterton
5. "Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home." ― G.K. Chesterton
6. "Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection." ― Winston Churchill
7. "To the American People: Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior, and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world." ― Calvin Coolidge
8. "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." ― Charles Dickens
9. "At Christmas, I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child." — Queen Elizabeth II
10. "God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If He gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it." — Pope Francis
11. "How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, His precepts!" ― Benjamin Franklin
12. "I think we’ve taken the meaning of Christmas out. People don’t stop and think about Jesus or the birth of Jesus. When they think of Christmas, they think of Santa Claus and—for the children—they think of giving gifts and out-giving the next person, of spending their time looking for the right thing for someone who has everything." — Billy Graham
13. "God seeks to influence humanity. This is at the heart of the Christmas story. It is the story of light coming into the darkness, of a Savior to show us the way, of light overcoming the darkness, of God's work to save the world." — Adam Hamilton
14. "Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart." ― Washington Irving
15. "And in despair I bowed my head;
'There is no peace on earth,' I said;
'For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!'
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!'" ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
16. "Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love." — Hamilton Wright Mabie
17. "Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you." ― Steve Maraboli
18. "We consider Christmas as the encounter, the great encounter, the historical encounter, the decisive encounter, between God and mankind. He who has faith knows this truly; let him rejoice." — Pope Paul VI
19. "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." ― Roy L. Smith
20. "The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much." — Henry David Thoreau
21. "Thousands each year find their desire for salvation and holiness becoming too acute to bear, and turn to the One who was born in a manger to die on a cross. Then the fleeting beauty that is Christmas enters their hearts to dwell there forever. For who is it that imparts such beauty to the Christmas story? It is none other than Jesus, the Altogether Lovely." ― A. W. Tozer
22. "Though we are keenly aware of the abuses that have grown up around the holiday season, we are still not willing to surrender this ancient and loved Christmas Day to the enemy." ― A. W. Tozer
23. "The light of the Christmas star to you. The warmth of home and hearth to you. The cheer and goodwill of friends to you. The hope of a child-like heart to you. The joy of a thousand angels to you. The love of the Son and God's peace to you." ― Sherryl Woods
24. "Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus I cannot help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog." ― Philip Yancey
Quotes about the Incarnation
At its heart, Christmas is about Jesus's birth. God set aside His divinity to put on our flesh and to walk through our world. He experienced our sorrows, joys, and physical pains, and He made reconciliation with man possible. The incarnation changes everything. These quotes will tell you why.
25. "God is so great that he can become small. God is so powerful that he can make himself vulnerable and come to us as a defenseless child so that we can love him." ― Pope Benedict XVI
26. "Christ took upon himself this human form of ours. He became Man even as we are men. In his humanity and his lowliness we recognize our own form. He has become like a man so that men should be like him." — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
27. "Jesus displaced himself that we might know him. This is incarnational ministry, and it's the life we're called to." ― Alia Joy
28. "There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation." ― Madeleine L'Engle
29. "Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out." ― Max Lucado
30. "Action is always superior to speech in the Gospels, which is why the Word became flesh and not newsprint." ― Colin M. Morris
31. "Oh, what love! Christ would not intrust our redemption to angels, to millions of angels; but he would come himself, and in person suffer; he would not give a low and a base price for us clay. He would buy us with a great ransom, so as he might over-buy us, and none could over-bid him in his market for souls. If there had been millions of more believers, and many heavens, without any new bargain his blood should have bought them all, and all these many heavens should have smelled one rose of life; Christ should have been one and the same tree of life in them all. Oh, we under-bid, and undervalue that Prince of love, who did overvalue us; we will not sell all we have to buy him; he sold all he had, and himself too, to buy us." ― Samuel Rutherford
32. "Without the incarnation, Christianity isn't even a very good story, and most sadly, it means nothing. ‘Be nice to one another’ is not a message that can give my life meaning, assure me of love beyond brokenness, and break open the dark doors of death with the key of hope. The incarnation is an essential part of Jesus-shaped spirituality." ― Michael Spencer
Quotes about Christmas memories
Most of us look back on Christmases with some fondness and nostalgia. Especially for kids, it's a magical time. And adults tend to look back to their own Christmases or maybe the holidays they spend with younger children with a sweet sentimentality.
33. "Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart ... filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever. Even though you grew up and found you could never quite bring back the magic feeling of this night, the melody would stay in your heart always—a song for all the years." ― Bess Streeter Aldrich
34. "The world has grown weary through the years, but at Christmas, it is young." — Phillips Brooks
35. "We count down the days, just to experience it nearly exactly as we always have. It is so comfortable, familiar and perfectly nostalgic that, frankly, we have no desire to improve upon it at all." — Joanna Gaines
36. "When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things—not the great occasions—give off the greatest glow of happiness." ― Bob Hope
37. "One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly." ― Andy Rooney
38. "There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves." — Eric Sevareid
39 "Adults are tempted to produce and perform Christmas for their kids and their families, and they arrive at Christmas Day weary and disillusioned." — Ann Voskamp
40. "Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime." ― Laura Ingalls Wilder
Maintaining the wonder of Christmas
Celebrating the birth of our Savior should be the highlight of the year. Christmas is a celebration. It's a festival. It's a warm reminder that we are not alone. God identifies with our struggles enough to join us in them.
We hope you found these quotes to be meaningful and inspiring, and if you're looking for a more biblical take on Christmas, we'd encourage you to check out the article "22 Inspirational Bible Verses for Christmas." You'll find many thought-provoking Scriptures about the true meaning of Christmas!