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

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68 thoughts on "Christmas Eve: The Birth of John the Baptist"

  1. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord we thank you blessings to little baby John

  2. Susan Porter says:

    I know I’m a little late but I was just reading todays verse . Did anybody notice that the people that were circumcising Elizabeth’s child were the ones who were picking the name? And when she did not agree and told them what she wanted the name to be they look towards her husband?

  3. Tara Beatty says:

    I pray each of you had a very, Merry Christmas!

  4. Sarah Morrison says:


  5. Mandy Ferrugia says:

    Merry Christmas Eve, dear sisters! Praying for you all from my cozy little bed in the Midwest. May you all have a wonderful Christmas Day surrounded by those you love, celebrating the birth of our one true King and Savior! Amen!

  6. Erin LaRoe says:


  7. Rhonda J. says:

    Merry Christmas Eve friends!

    Wherever you are in your life- young or old, it is so full of turns and twists, fullness and loneliness, joy and sadness- But God, He is always there, waiting for us to look to Him, to give Him our time and investment, to listen in, to be still to study and absorb His word. Letting Him shine His light on us, and to guide us to shine that light to others. I

    Prayers for those in need. I pray God will comfort you and surround you in His arms! I am so thankful for SRT, their studies, and their podcast! And I am so happy to have found a local church to attend, and hopefully, become actively involved! Shalom to you all!

  8. Jeanette Cruz says:


  9. Traci Gendron says:

    Merry Christmas to you all! You are so special to me. I pray that you all have a peaceful Eve and Christmas day. Thank you for all your comments. I learn so much from you all. XO

  10. Rebekah Boettcher says:

    My prayers go out to those who do not know the light, Our Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ. I pray their hearts & minds will be opened soon to receive His gift of salvation. Thank you for this devotional. Merry Christmas Eve to all!

  11. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Merry Christmas Eve ladies!! I pray you all have an amazing night celebrating our savior’s birth.❤️

  12. Catherine Woodberry says:


  13. Donna Wolcott says:

    Merry Christmas Eve to all of you and may your Christmas Day be filled with the peace of the Lord for you and your love ones. Prayers for those with needs. Thank you all dear sisters for all you bring to this space as well as the SRT staff.

  14. Tonya May says:

    Merry Christmas Eve to all. May today bring you much love and blessings.

  15. Victoria E says:

    What an incredible study. I can’t wait to review all the reading a and extras in the physical book this weekend. A lot of special scripture has been featured in this study, verses I came across while walking through difficult times earlier this year. Searching and CeeGee and everyone who co to yes to pray for me and the baby thank you! I am so blessed by this community. Lexi praise God for this good report! Churchmouse I wanted to echo those who have expressed their gratitude at having you here. Martha Hix, Traci Gendron, and Emma Elliott praying for your comfort and emotional strength and healing.

  16. Catherine McVey says:

    Merry Christmas Eve to all of you beautiful ladies. May each of you feel peace and love and hope of Jesus in your hearts and homes. May we all see His light and His hope in this dark world. May God richly bless each one of you. ❤️❤️

  17. Maria Dobbs says:

    Merry Christmas Eve! Love from @jccsbsrt xoxo

  18. Skylar Hilton says:

    Merry Christmas Eve everyone! May we always remember celebrating Jesus on this day

    I love how Zechariah’s first response after His silence was to praise God! He could have shouted at God.. blaming Him for His silence…but He put that aside and praised God!! Wow!! I hope that we would all be like that… praising God throughout our sufferings.

    I love you all. Thank you for helping me connect to God again. By this time last year, I was so ready to give up. I’m so grateful I never did

  19. Chris S says:

    Merry Christmas SHE’S!! This has been a beautiful study.

  20. Mari V says:

    Good morning SRT Sisters!Merry Christmas Eve. When my kids were little I would always say: Jesus is the Reason for the Season

  21. Pam Seavers says:

    From Paul David Tripp’s devotional New Morning Mercies, today’s reading says:
    Here is the Christmas story-only light can defeat the darkness, and light has come!
    Be blest, SHE’S.

  22. Stephanie Granstrom says:

    Merry Christmas Eve to all ❤️

  23. Rita Ann says:

    Merry Christmas She’s! So grateful for each of you and the SRT staff. This study (as well as others) has been an amazing blessing. May each of you feel God’s love as we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord. ❤️

  24. Hector Rodriguez says:

    Great article for spiritual enhancement, yes let’s prepared the way for the Lord. Our spiritual journey commences the light that gives light .

  25. Kathy A says:

    Merry Christmas Eve SRT sisters! Prayers for those who need comfort, and healing. So grateful for this community and devotional. I have loved seeing the Jesus, Messiah thread throughout the Old and New Testament. Connections that are new to me, so purposeful and point to our God, who keeps his promises, ancient promises to us. Praying you all feel extra portions of His peace, comfort and love today, tomorrow and forevermore. Lots of love to you all, thank you for making this such a rich and sweet community,

  26. Emily says:

    Great reading :) my first time reading a devotional from SRT. Merry Christmas Eve to everyone!

  27. Jeannie Wilson says:

    Well said!!! Merry Christmas Eve!

  28. Mandy Wood says:

    Beautifully written and put together. Thank you so much for this study. Our light has come!

  29. Gwendolyn Vincent says:

    Merry Christmas Eve everyone❤

  30. Ruth Long says:

    That’s good Lizzy. He lived for Jesus with Wild abandon, fearlessly, not looking back.

  31. Ruth Long says:

    Merry Christmas my friends! I felt a little flicker flair up in my heart when I prayed from the prompt at the devotional’s end. I cannot wait for Jesus to come!! Merry Christmas!

  32. Connie Tramel says:


  33. hope says:

    Merry Christmas Eve ya’ll!!
    The reading over on HRT is also wonderful today. It really shines a light on Isaiah 40:1-5.
    I had somehow overlooked the John connection to these verses somehow. Today’s reading does an excellent job of explaining it.
    Praying that all of you have a wonderful Christmas. I realize that this time of year can bring a mix of emotions for many people. Some of us can’t be together in the same way, some of us have lost loved ones… but this is my prayer, that all of you feel the Peace and comfort of our loving Father this season. May His light shine brightly for us all.

  34. CeeGee says:

    A huge THANK YOU to the SRT STAFF and to all of our Shes for sharing your Light and Hope and prayers and praises! My life is so much richer for hanging out in this community!

    EMMA, like Kelly, I couldn’t see your comment after searching for it but you and your boys are added to my prayers!May you feel a special touch from God.

    MERRY and BLESSED Light-filled Christmas to you all!!!

  35. Adrienne says:

    Already and not yet. Let us see His light and share it every day. Merry Christmas, my sisters!

  36. Maria Baer says:

    Merry Christmas Eve, sisters! I like that this devotional is featuring John the Baptist on Christmas Eve. What better way to recap with this advent journey is about? Preparing the way for the Son of Man is the embodiment of John the Baptist’s life. He was, in many ways, the light bearer in the darkness, continuing to prepare us for Jesus’ arrival. This devotional also made me think of all the false teachers of today teaching a Christian message that is completely different than what Jesus and his second coming is all about. Let’s pray the true message of Christ reveals itself to them deep in their souls. Let them realize their responsibility and mission in today’s world to spread the true Gospel— not an adapted version to fit society. Have a wonderful day.

  37. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    Wishing all my SRT sisters a very Merry Christmas! @Churchmouse – so sorry to hear that you are not able to join your church family this evening, but am so encouraged to hear how you have accepted it.

    Praising God for the Light of the world – Jesus. It is so easy to get caught up in all the business of the world. Today I want to reflect on how Jesus came – humbly – into this world for me, for you and what His birth meant for all of us. So abundantly blessed that God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son!

    Trying not to let sadness overcome me as I think of all that’s going on in the world and all those who will be missing loved ones this year due to school shootings, tornadoes and covid. This very moment I have a friend in the hospital fighting covid, he is on a ventilator and has shown signs of kidney failure. Please pray for him to recover, his name is Don.

    Yet in the midst of the sadness, there is joy – joy in knowing Jesus, joy in celebrating His birth. A light has come into the darkness. May we all know and feel His presence during this Christmas season.

    Blessings my sweet sisters!

  38. Kristin Sparkman says:

    Merry Christmas all! This has been a wonderful study (they all are) my heart is very ready for Christ’s birth❤️

  39. Melanie Rastrelli says:


  40. Eva-Marie Hester says:

    Merry Christmas Eve, Shes! Today is a day of great anticipation. I feel it in my soul like when I was a little girl. I sense it in my Spirit, a bubbling joy over the celebration of the birth of Emmanuel. This day is in the top 3 of my favorite days of the year.
    . This year I feel more joy and peace that I have in many Christmas times. I’m normally overwhelmed by the to do list, bustling around fulfilling the expectations for a magical Christmas. This year, in great part because of this Advent devotional, my pace has slowed down. The to do list was simplified. The focus is celebrating the light of the world with those I love.
    I want to thank SRT for shining a illuminating light on the Light of the World this Christmas. You have made a difference in my life, reminding me that Jesus is the light that overcomes every darkness, big or small. Reminding me that I am a light to those living in darkness ready and able to shine a light illuminating the path that leads to our blessed Savior.

  41. Eva-Marie Hester says:

    Merry Christmas Eve, Shes! Today is a day of great anticipation. I feel it in my soul like when I was a little girl. I sense it in my Spirit, a bubbling joy over the celebration of the birth of Emmanuel. This day is in the top 3 of my favorite days of the year..

  42. Eva-Marie Hester says:

    Merry Christmas Eve, Shes! Today is a day of great anticipation. I feel it in my soul like when I was a little girl. I sense it in my Spirit, a bubbling joy over the celebration of the birth of Emmanuel. This day is in the top 3 of my favorite days of the year.

  43. Elizabeth Oster says:

    Amen!! Merry Christmas Eve!!

  44. Lori says:

    Thinking this morning about their family history – John and Jesus would have been second cousins and it would have been likely that Zechariah and Elizabeth shared their birth stories with John? So as family, had they met as children? Had they played together? When John baptized Jesus he never acknowledges him as a cousin (although in the Chosen they show th relationship). Was John out in the wilderness all those years knowing that it was Jesus he was preparing the people for? So many questions to ask in Heaven! But God’s story for us is so beautiful down to every single detail and although we are going into another different Christmas with limited family interaction, I am so grateful for a God who still cares about every moment and I can trust He is still in control.

  45. Angie says:

    Thank you Jesus. Thank you for the opportunity to tell others about You in our yesterdays, in our tomorrows and today. Thank you for being with us in every moment. Times with people and times without. Thank you for both. Thank you that we can lean into you in all times. Your love never fails.

  46. Ashlyn Eitemiller says:

    Merry Christmas Eve! I thank the Lord for

  47. Aimee D-R says:

    That I have the boldness to proclaim Your light Jesus as John did. Amen

  48. Sarah D. says:

    Wow, I feel like this Christmas I am just blown away at God’s goodness and attention to detail. I was able to read through the entire Old Testament for the first time (and the New Testament soon enough :) with the Bible Recap this year, and reading of God’s character and how everything points to Jesus was amazing.

    This was my prayer I wrote down today:
    Lord, you are so good. You don’t leave out any details. You prepared the way for Jesus, through John. Through the prophets of the Old Testament. Through all the way back to the garden, when you said you will bruise the heel of the seed of the woman (Christ) and crush the serpents head. All the ordinary and broken people you used to accomplish your extraordinary purposes, point to our need for a Savior. All of the prophecies point to Jesus. The Passover Lamb. All the times when we did what was right in our own eyes. You still gave us what we don’t deserve. Grace. You still brought Jesus. Our Redeemer. You prepared the way for us to know The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Glory to God in the highest. The Light of the World. I praise you today Jesus.

    Merry Christmas Eve SRT sisters!!

  49. Angela Greenwood says:

    Thank you God for giving us the Light the truth your Son. Help me to reflect and meditate on these truths throughout the day.

  50. Susan Reagon says:

    I have always loved the words spoken by John once Jesus started his ministry.I must decrease so the He May increase.Help me Lord to always try to put you first.Christmas Greetings to you all

  51. Kelly says:

    EMMA ELLIOTT – I don’t see your post, but I’m saddened to hear about the tragic loss of your husband. I pray that you and your boys will sense the comfort, strength, guidance, and wisdom of Lord.

  52. Michelle Patire says:

    Arina, thank you for including the name meaning behind John. I needed to read that!

    Merry Christmas Eve :)

  53. Kelly says:

    KRISTIN – amen!❤

    LEXI SHARER – wow! What amazing news. I’m thrilled that the dark report you recieved aboit yoir baby was obliterated by the merciful Light of Life. Happy dancing for you.

    “Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

    The way of peace…peace with God foremost, but peace with one another too.

  54. Churchmouse says:

    My husband and I viewed our 2020 Christmas Eve service online. I’m immunosuppressed so we followed my physician’s advice and stayed home. We were so hoping to be back for in-person service this year. Unfortunately I am recovering from a lung infection (not Covid) so we are grounded again this year. Isaiah foretold John the Baptist preparing the way for the Messiah. This Advent study has helped me focus on once again preparing my heart for Him. I could sit here and bemoan that I won’t be participating in corporate worship tonight. Or I can choose to be grateful for the wonderful gift the Father gives through His Son. I’m grateful also to all who comment here. I’m so blessed by your honesty, transparency and faithfulness to reading the Word every day. And for your dedication to prayer. When I look at my Christmas tree I envision these non-material gifts under it. The trees is surrounded and the gifts are stacked high! Thank you SRT and all of you who gather here. I am so blessed. You are community for me.

  55. SEARCHING says:

    This morning’s devotion is my calm before the chaos of preparing food to take to a family dinner tonight and multiple stops tomorrow. So thankful for Christ’s sacrifice for my salvation – May that be the main focus of this weekend and beyond.

    EMMA ELLIOTT – SO saddened to hear about the tragic loss of your husband. Praying for you and your boys for comfort, strength, guidance and wisdom.

    NATASHA R – praying for you as you continue the healing journey

    ALLIE MCCANDLESS – continuing to pray and so true, you are never alone.

    BAILEY BOWERS – On a plaque I saw “in our waiting, God is working” – praying we can all remember this, especially when our patience needs a boost

    VICTORIA E – praying for you and baby

    TRACI GENDRON, MARTHA HIX and others feeling the loss of a loved one – praying for all

    Thank you SRT sisters for our community of believers – wishing all of you a Merry Christmas filled with the peace of God’s love.

  56. ERB says:

    LIZZY BUTTERFIELD, you put what I had in my heart to words!! I absolutely LOVED what you wrote!!! Thank you!!!

    A very Merry and Blessed Christmas Eve dear sisters!!!

  57. Lexi Sharer says:

    Amen! Merry Christmas Eve y’all! Praise the Lord. We received wonderful news and have a healthy baby boy on the way. A very special Christmas this is. So thankful for all the blessings and hope you all are surrounded with love today!

  58. Nancy Singleton says:

    I’ve been waking up very early this Advent season, & turning on just my Christmas tree lights as I lay on my couch doing my SRT readings & other devotionals & prayers. It has been such a blessing to enjoy this quiet time, reflecting on all of my blessings, & most especially that Jesus, the light of the world, came into this world to save you & me. Where there is light, darkness cannot prevail. I am so very thankful! I pray for all who are suffering illness or loss at this time, that they would feel God’s presence & know they are not alone. I pray for some of my own family with Covid, so far mild cases, all vaccinated, & thank God for protecting my husband & me thus far. Blessings to all my SRT sisters at Christmas & always.

  59. Julia Guice says:

  60. Mary Ann Graves says:

    Me too. Amen

  61. Arina says:

    The name John means ‘The LORD has been gracious’. It’s such a fitting name, knowing how his birth came about. God graciously giving Zechariah and Elizabeth a child in their old age. And then his calling in life. He was to prepare the way for God Himself coming as a little baby on earth. “The true Light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world!” It’s only God’s grace that He will visit us, that He lights our darkness.

  62. Kristen says:

    Jesus’s birth was so astounding for so many reasons. Ive heard the story so many times, but it’s hitting me more. He could have come in so many ways, but He came as a vulnerable baby born in a dirty, smelly place. I was listening to the interviews of the singers/artists from The Chosen Christmas presentation describing how they see His birth now compared to when they were younger. Some were describing what the manager could have been like, and it wouldn’t have been a clean, sterile place. Jesus is the King of kings, but didn’t have the birth of what our earthly minds would expect. His Ways are so much higher than ours! Then, I heard Tim Keller talking about Jesus coming as a baby. He become vulnerable. Being in flesh, He was killable so He could make a way for us by paying for our sins. (I’m paraphrasing from the show and sermon)
    Jesus, Thank You for all that You left and endured for us to bring us out of darkness and in to Your wonderful light! Help us to be messengers, and In Your mercy, please draw others that are still in darkness to repentance and salvation too!
    All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

    Merry Christmas!

  63. Julie Veach says:


  64. Penny W says:

    God, I thank You that because of Your merciful compassion, the Dawn upon high has visited us. Thank You for shining on those of us in darkness and bringing us peace—peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
    Merry Christmas, dear She’s!

  65. Penny W says:

    God, I thank You that because of Your merciful compassion, the Dawn upon high has visited us. Thank You for shining on those of us in darkness and bringing us peace—peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

  66. Lizzy Butterfield says:

    I always loved John, he did not care about anything other than his Savior and telling people about Him. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that when I get into the particulars- he didn’t care if he was eating good food, wearing comfortable clothing, or pleasing people. He was so, intently focused on preparing the way that that was all he cared about. Which is why he was so passionate, he was so eternity-focused that he truly realized something that I struggle with all the time – this life and everything in it is temporary. I want to have an eternal mindset.