Jesus’ birth was the culmination of years of waiting for a nation in need of a Savior. Refresh your Christmas season in a few minutes each day as we unpack four passages from the book of Isaiah and see how Jesus fulfilled each prophecy to bring hope, peace, and joy to a hurting world. Following each week’s devotional, Craig will be preaching through the same passages.

Grab a cup of coffee each morning or chat with your family around the dinner table to build your anticipation of the great celebration of Christ’s birth.

👋 Hey, kids + students! If you see or read a word you don’t recognize, ask your parents to explain it for you.

WEEK 1 // November 28

Isaiah 61:1-3 + Luke 4:16-21


As we dive into two passages this week, we’ll see how waiting expectantly can help us to understand God’s character and experience the transformational truth of the Good News that Jesus represents.

Click HERE to watch this week’s video.

DAY 2 | Listen

We’ll revisit the same two passages today and we’ll see and how the Good News of Jesus is even more amazing when we understand the historical context.

Click HERE to listen to this week’s message.

DAY 3 | Read

Sometimes it can feel hard to hear from God. When the diagnosis isn’t what you wanted to hear, your loneliness feels overwhelming, or your marriage has more fight nights than date nights, where do you turn? We each face unique struggles, but we all long to have clarity from God. The book of Isaiah and the history of God’s people help us know what to do while we wait.

In Isaiah 61, Isaiah was preaching to the southern kingdom of God’s people, Judah. During this time, the Northern Kingdom was overrun by the Assyrians. He was trying to warn Judah that without some serious changes, they would face the same consequences.

You can almost hear his frustration throughout the book of Isaiah as he (figuratively) takes Judah by the shoulders and says, “Come on guys, wake up and change, or what happened to your family up north will happen here too.”

But what happens? Here is a broad overview:

  • During Isaiah’s time, things go from bad to worse up north as the northern kingdom is deported. (Interestingly, this is where Nazareth is – talk about a big future redemption!)
  • Years later another prophet, Jeremiah, tries again to warn God’s people but unrepentant Judah is deported to Babylon for 70 years.
  • Israel briefly gets their act together and rebuilds the temple around 515 BC.
  • 200 years later in 330 BC, Israel is invaded by the Greeks who introduce their culture and gods.
  • Israel (and much of the world) was conquered around 63 BC by the Romans, whose tight control worked to diminish the spiritual expression of the Jews.
  • Jesus arrives to bring hope to all people.

Israel had to wait a long time and endure an awful lot as they waited for the good news that was promised. Here are three lessons we can learn.

If you are in a season of waiting, you are not alone. God’s people have often had to wait on God’s timing. Though it can be hard to understand this side of heaven, we must cling to the truth that God is good and his timing is always best.

While you wait, focus on how God is preparing you. Instead of focusing on your suffering, draw near to God (James 4:8), be steadfast in prayer (Colossians 4:2), and remember that God uses every season to prepare you for good works (Ephesians 2:10).

When life feels unclear, remember that God’s promises are true. As Christians, we aren’t promised a life without problems. We are promised that God will be with us as we endure this life and that there is redemption for those who trust in the Lord. After 700 long years of waiting, Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy.

No matter what you are waiting for, cling to Jesus to find everlasting peace.

For further reading: CLICK HERE for, “Waiting: Finding Hope When God Seems Silent”.

DAY 4 | Reflect
In both Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:16-21, we learn that Jesus transforms the lives of those who believe.

We learn that there is:

  • hope for the hopeless
  • freedom for the oppressed
  • comfort for those who mourn
  • grace for the debtor
  • joy in place of sorrow

What “good news” do you need to remember today? How can you trust God with your struggles in this area to allow him to transform you?

Click on the following link to let us know if we can be praying for you specifically today: PRAYER

DAY 5 | Act

Jesus came to a waiting nation to bring good news. Waiting can be especially hard during the holidays, so find someone in your life who is in a season of waiting and share a word of encouragement with them today.

You can send them a quick text message, grab a friend for a cup of coffee, or tell your spouse what you appreciate about them.

We’ll dig much deeper into these passages during our services this weekend.

WEEK 2 // December 5

Isaiah 35:5-6 + Matthew 11:2-6

DAY 1 | Read

After much silence, the people of Israel were stirring. They were getting restless for their Savior. They were anticipating the redemption they were promised. They were looking for signs of their Messiah.

But how would they know? Isaiah prophesied there would be signs. Signs of healing:

  • The eyes of the blind would see.
  • The legs of the lame would leap.
  • The tongues of the mute would shout.

Signs of restoration – Water would flow in the wilderness and the desert. The earth would be like a flourishing garden when the Messiah came.

Read Isaiah 35:5-6

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”

They would be looking for someone who would be a healer, miracle worker, and savior to his people!

Matthew 11: 2-6

“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Could this be the Messiah they were waiting for? He performed many miraculous healings. They would keep their eye on this one who was fulfilling scripture in front of their eyes.

Could this be the Messiah they were waiting for? He performed many miraculous healings. They would keep their eye on this one who was fulfilling scripture in front of their eyes.

DAY 2 | Watch

When we anticipate spring after a long cold winter, we look for signs of renewed life. As we approach Christmas, let’s anticipate the season with wonder, watching and waiting for the joy that comes from knowing that Jesus came to be our Savior.

Click HERE to watch this week’s video.

DAY 3 | Listen

Today, listen to how the words of both Isaiah and of Jesus himself from the book of Matthew can bring us comfort that through Jesus we can find true healing. You’ll have time to reflect on this truth as we also listen together to the worship song, Waymaker.

Click HERE to listen to this week’s message.

DAY 4 | Reflect

Read Isaiah 35:5-6 and Matthew 11: 2-6 again and reflect on these questions.

What do we learn about God from these passages?

God will bring healing to his people and eventually to the land.

What does Jesus do/say in these passages that bring you hope?

He confirms to John and his followers (and to us) that he is the one who brings healing to his people and is the fulfillment of scripture.

As you think about who Jesus was when he came to earth and who he is now, write a letter to him asking him to heal your heart, mind, or body. Cry out to him and believe he can heal in his time and in his way.

DAY 5 | Act

As a family, make some cookies. While you are adding ingredients and making the dough, talk about the word “anticipation.” We anticipate the smell of the cookies baking. We get excited about the taste of the warm melted chocolate on your lips.

While the cookies are baking, create an “anticipation time capsule.”

Think about what your family is anticipating right now – grandparents coming to visit, the birth of a new family member, a new job, someone graduating and going to college, getting a new puppy. Write down your feelings or put physical items into a box that you can revisit when the time comes as a reminder of your season of anticipation.

If you have someone who is anticipating healing in their life, it might be nice to bring them some of your freshly baked cookies and pray with them. If you can’t meet with them in person, call or zoom with them.

WEEK 3 // December 12

Isaiah 42:1-4 + Matthew 12:15-21


In our passages this week, we’ll see that Christ is promised as the One who would bring peace to not only the hurting nation of Israel but to all who choose to trust in him.

Take a moment to watch this overview of peace and pray that you can experience God’s peace this week.

Click HERE to watch this week’s video.

DAY 2 | Listen

When Isaiah wrote to the nation of Israel, they were in the midst of great turmoil and upheaval. As you listen to this scripture today, know that God wants to meet you in the midst of your most stressed-out moments to bring you peace that passes understanding.

Click HERE to listen this week’s message.

DAY 3 | Read

Christmas can be a season of great joy and celebration. But it can also be a time where our losses feel more tender, our brokenness leaves us feeling lonely, and our struggles feel overwhelming.

Isaiah and Matthew speak of Jesus as the One to bring justice to a hurting world. Biblical references to the word “justice” mean “to make right.” Read these two passages and look for how Christ comes to a hurting world.

Isaiah 42:1-4

The Servant of the Lord
42 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.

Matthew 12:15-21

God’s Chosen Servant
15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”

No worldly power, reorganization tactic, productivity hack, or “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” will bring justice to your life. You cannot work or wish your way into right relationship with God or with others. It is only through the gift of grace in Christ that you can take hold of the peace that comes from knowing your sins have been forgiven.

If there is an area of your life that needs to be made right, pray for God to transform your heart and heal your brokenness. Take hold of Christ’s forgiveness and know that you can experience freedom from the shame and guilt from your past.

DAY 4 | Reflect
In Isaiah 42:1-4 and Matthew 12:15-21, we see God the Father delight in Jesus, his chosen servant.

Look at how all-mighty, all-powerful Jesus behaves:

  • Withdraws from the crowd to be renewed by God
  • Quietly brings justice for the oppressed
  • Gently restores those who are broken
  • Is tender with his words – no quarreling or fighting
  • Empowered by the Spirit

Through the busyness of December, reflect on the Servant nature of Jesus. How can you become more like Jesus to those around you today?

Click on the following link to let us know if we can be praying for you specifically today: PRAYER

DAY 5 | Act

Isaiah 42:1-4 and Matthew 12:15-21 both refer to Jesus as God’s chosen servant. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus describes himself as a servant over and over (Matthew 20:25-28, Matthew 23:11, Mark 9:35, and Mark 10:43-45).

Consider one way that you can serve those around you this week. Instead of searching for the Pinterest-perfect neighbor gift or catalog-inspired décor for your home, invest your time in the quiet service of others.

If you are a child or student, offer to do an extra chore in your home or at your school. For adults, look for ways to quietly serve a neighbor, co-worker, family member, or friend.

WEEK 4 // December 19

Isaiah 9:1-2 + Matthew 4:12-17

DAY 1 | Read

Darkness and the unknown can be pretty scary. It can rob you of all the joy, peace, and hope that Christmas usually brings.

The nation of Israel had many fears from wars, captivity, and living in darkness. They read the scriptures in Isaiah to find the promise of hope.

Read Isaiah 9:1-2

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past, he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future, he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

These words bring hope to all who read them. God’s promise to bring great light to the darkness comes through Jesus. He is the light of the world.

Read Matthew 4:12-17

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Jesus himself was fulfilling the prophesy he was quoting from Isaiah. He was reminding them of the war, slavery, and darkness they had endured as a nation. He brought light the world needed. He brought them hope.

The nation of Israel longed for their Messiah. They waited. They anticipated. They wondered what it would be like. He came and delivered them from the bondage of sin. But he will come again to set the world right. We still long for the day when Jesus comes back to free us from sin and darkness. But until then, we live with the hope that Jesus is our Savior.

DAY 2 | Listen

As you listen and read the lyrics to the song, notice how this song touches on all the different themes we’ve been talking about this month – waiting, anticipating, healing, peace, hope, and light.

Click HERE to listen to this song by Lauren Daigle.

DAY 3 | Reflect

Read John 8:12

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Read Matthew 5:14

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Jesus is the light of the world; how are we the light of the world too? As followers of Jesus, we are his earthy torch bearers. Have you ever watched the Olympic ceremonies? It is an honor to represent your country and carry the torch. We are Jesus’ representative through how we act, the decisions we make, how we spend our time and money. How bright is your light?

We learn a lot about God from these scriptures:

  • God loves his people and wants them to know that there is hope in what is to come.
  • God wants us to repent for wanting to do things our way and turn away from him.
  • God wants us to be the light for the world until Jesus returns to set the world right again.
  • Jesus reminds us that the kingdom of heaven is near.

What does Jesus do/say in these passages that bring you hope? Spend some time in prayer or journaling and ask God to forgive you from turning away from him and trying to life on your own. Ask him to help you to reflect Jesus’s light that is in you until he returns.

DAY 4 | Act

Here’s a fun activity that you can do alone or with your family as an example of how light can overpower darkness.

Click HERE to watch the video.

Do this activity and then talk about how the pepper is like the darkness. And the soap is like the light. What a great visual of how light is stronger the darkness.

DAY 5 | Watch

Wake up early one morning this week and watch the sun come up. Watch what happens when light breaks through the darkness. There is hope in the new day as the sun gets brighter and brighter. Each sunrise can be a great reminder of the hope we have in the “son” rise.

Another fun way to observe what light does in the darkness is to take a drive at night around your neighborhood to look at all the Christmas lights on houses. Just notice the difference in the houses that don’t have lights displayed versus houses that do. It’s such an easy visual of how light changes darkness.