Christmas Eve: The Birth of John the Baptist
Open Your Bible
Luke 1:57-80, Isaiah 40:1-5, John 1:6-9, John 1:15
Section 3: The Light Dawns
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:57-80, Isaiah 40:1-5, John 1:6-9, John 1:15
Friends, it’s Christmas Eve. The day before the big celebration. In our little church community, we have a tradition of gathering in the evening to quietly recite Scripture readings, sing hymns, and light the Christ candle—the central, white candle in the traditional Advent wreath. This place in our church that we call the sanctuary always feels especially warm on these Christmas Eve nights. There is a soft glow about the room. Some of the light is cast down from wooden chandeliers, from the small flames we clasp in our fingers as we sing a collective “Silent Night,” and from electric candles attached to the walls that have a curious ability to glow yellow or a garish green on command.
I love how this special service invites me deeper into the ancient story by asking us to be still for a moment and tune our hearts to the coming Christ. With greater awareness. With a posture of expectancy. With anticipation. At its heart, though, Christmas Eve is not about mood lighting. It’s not about the darkened sanctuary or the candles. The true Light that the Gospel of John talks about already burns within us, and whether we’re at church, at home, or en route to somewhere else, our hope lies in remembering how, on this night, “the true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:9).
Today, we read about the birth of John the Baptist. Beginning even before the womb, John’s role was to point to the Messiah, and once he was born people could not deny how the Lord was with him (Luke 1:66). That’s quite a ministry mission for a child! The prophet Isaiah foretold how he would call us to prepare our hearts for the Lord and His coming glory (Isaiah 40:3,5). “He was not the light,” says the gospel of John, “but he came to testify about the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” (John 1:8–9).
We, too, testify about the light. As people living on the other side of the incarnation story, we already have the gift of knowing our Savior, but there are still so many that God longs to comfort with the presence of His Son (Isaiah 40:1).
Together, let’s meditate on the hope John the Baptist proclaimed that has broken through for us. We know the end isn’t just lingering darkness. It isn’t all deferred hope. There is a great light already, and a great light is coming again—the light that is Christ, the healing of the world. Even though we may already know how the story ends, let’s step into it once again as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Whether it’s while holding candles in church or collapsing into bed like any other night, take an intentional moment after reading this devotional to thank God for preparing us long ago to meet His Son, Jesus.
Written by Bailey Gillespie