Here are a few of my favorite quotes in and outside the Bible about the season and meaning of Christmas.
Quotes from Other Authors
God so loved us that for our sake he, through whom time was made, was made in time; older by eternity than the world itself, he became younger in age than many of his servants in the world; God, who made man, was made man; he was given existence by a mother whom he brought into existence; he was carried in hands which he formed; he was nursed at breasts which he filled; he cried like a baby in the manger in speechless infancy—this Word without which human eloquence is speechless.
Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span;
Summer in winter, day in night;
Heaven in earth, and God in man.
Great little one, whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heav’n to earth.
The hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle. . . . God who had been only a circumference was seen as a center.
All praise to Thee, Eternal Lord,
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood;
Choosing a manger for Thy throne,
While worlds on worlds are Thine alone.
The Christmas story that sits at the heart of all our holiday efforts begs us to see it as far more than a peak event in December. Christmas is an annual reminder that God is on the move and was on the move long before we knew it. In fact, it was precisely into our dismal, empty, post-festive reality that the Child came near in the first place. In the bleak moments of late winter, Christmas is not anti-climactic; it confronts us all the more. It is our startling reminder that God has not forgotten, though in the thick of our empty routines, despairing headlines, and blinding self-interest we have forgotten the Child. Yet here, in the quiet and empty days after celebrations have ceased, the sights and sounds of the Child among us can better be noticed and more authentically received. If Advent brings the world’s attention to the sounds of one who stands at the door and knocks, and Christmas marks the culmination of that knocking in the cry of a newborn king, the days thereafter usher us further into the presence of a God who not only knocks and draws near, but has opened wide the doors of heaven and calls us in.
—Jill Carattini (read the full column from RZIM’s A Slice of Infinity)5
And to us, though we wrestle and travail
Though we fancy and fret and disprove
Still the plumes stir around us, above us
The wings of the shadow of Love
Still the fountains of life are unshattered
Their splendour unshorn
The secret, the marvel, the promise
–a child is born.”
—G.K. Chesterton, from “The Song of the Cradle”
Other recommended writings related to Christmas:
- Poems by G.K. Chesterton:
- “Elisha’s Carol,” ancient Welsh Christmas hymn
Elisha's Carol (Excerpt)
“Who is it who lies in the Manger?
A very strange immortality.
Who can discern his gentleness?
Not Gabriel despite his skill.
It is not possible to imagine Him,
He is above heaven and earth—
The mountains, the mountains
May all be worn out,
The mountains may all be worn out,
Our wonderful Messiah remains.
Who was wrapped in poor napkins?
None less than eternity.
To what purpose was he subjected?
In order to raise up the guilty.”
—Cilwern Davies, Llanymawddwy (o Cyff Mawddwy)
Quotes from Scripture
Old Testament Prophecies about Jesus
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:1–5)
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:3)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. . . . And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:9–10)
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, citing Isaiah 7:14)
New Testament Verses about Jesus’ First Coming
At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Luke 10:21–22; also in Matthew 11:25–27)
And … Zacharias was filled with Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying” “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant—as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.” (Luke 1:67–75)
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. (Jesus, in Matthew 11:28–30)
But the angel said to them [the shepherds], “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11)
He [Christ] was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. (John 1:10–11)
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16–17)
Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
- Augustine of Hippo, “Christmas: The Word of God Cannot Be Explained by Man,” in Twenty Centuries of Great Preaching: An Encyclopedia of Preaching, ed. Clyde E. Fant Jr. and William M. Pinson Jr. (Waco, TX: Word, 1971), 1.1.137.
- Richard Crashaw, “In the Holy Nativity of Our Lord,” accessed at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44058/in-the-holy-nativity-of-our-lord.
- G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007), 17, 18.
- Words by Luther, “All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord” (1535), accessed at http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com.
- Jill Carattini, “The Time Being” (December 29, 2014), A Slice of Infinity, RZIM, accessed at http://rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/the-time-being.