Tracing Glory: The Christmas Story Through the Bible

Click Here to Download Tracing Glory – Advent Devotional

My absolute love for the Christmas season began when I was a very little girl and continues still. The music, lights, decorations, family traditions, gifts and (most of all) the mystery of God made flesh truly make this one of the most wonderful times of my year. As a child, the Christmas season felt just about perfect in every way, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my view of the season itself was somewhat idealized in the naivety of childhood.

As wonderful as December is, the realities of living in a fallen world don’t just go away during this special month. On the contrary, they’re often highlighted. Busyness and stress creep in. The longer to-do lists are exhausting. Relationships are challenging. Grief is more raw than usual. Children still have meltdowns, and there is still laundry! I’ve come to realize that my hope and joy must run deeper than the season itself, or I’ll be let down every year.

The cliche’ “Jesus is the reason for the season,” is almost as overused as it is true. I know well that Jesus is the reason for the season. Of course, he is our hope in December and every month of the year! But just because I know it’s true doesn’t mean I function as if it’s true. In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s all too easy to make very little room for Christ. If Jesus truly is the reason (and hope) for the season, then he must be central in my heart and home the whole month through. How do I make this my reality in the busiest month of the year when so many other things vie for my time and affections?

I have found that if Christ is not central in my life during the first eleven months of the year, he won’t be central in the last month either. If I am not rooted in the Bible’s big story January through November, I will miss the sheer magnitude of what I read in Luke chapter two during December. The centrality of Christ at Christmas is tied to my love for him and commitment to his Word every day of the year. It is also tied to my intentionality to think and plan ahead for a Christ-focused Christmas season.

Tracing Glory: The Christmas Story Through the Bible is a twenty-four day Advent reading I wrote for our family to use this December and for many Decembers to come. It begins looking back at creation and ends looking forward to the new creation, tracing Jesus Christ from start to finish. I wrote this devotional primarily for my boys because I want them to understand that the birth of Christ is the climactic event of a much larger story–a story about God’s mission to redeem sinful people for his glory.  

This advent reading was written with children, teens, and adults in mind. My goal was to communicate big truths in ways a child could grasp. I want to help readers see how every story in the Bible points either forward or backward to the hero of the story.

In each day’s reading, there is a key Scripture given to look up as the basis for that day’s devotional. Next is my written commentary on the key Scripture. At the end of each day’s reading, I have summarized the key Scripture and commentary with one main point and Christ connection, showing how that particular Bible passage points to Jesus Christ.

While preschoolers may not yet be able to grasp all the content given in the key Scripture and commentary, they will benefit from hearing the main point. I would suggest that parents of very young children read the first two sections and then communicate those truths to their children at their particular level of understanding. I think most school-aged children and teens will benefit from listening to or reading the commentary, but families can decide what works best for their particular situation. This is a resource that very young children can grow into through the years.

This Advent resource can be printed and spiral bound or put into a three ring binder for organization and easy access. At the back of the devotional, I have included individual pictures of an ornament suggestion for each day. These are simple ornaments I have made or bought to use with our family. Each day of the Advent season, my children will unwrap the ornament that corresponds to the key Scripture we will be focusing on and hang it on our Advent tree (see picture). These ornaments can be easily replicated, or you can cut out the pictures provided and use those as visuals with your children each day. Having a visual helps children grasp the meaning of the text and makes Advent exciting as they anticipate what ornament they will open each day.

The story you will encounter in this Advent reading is both epic and true, and it isn’t finished yet. We are living within this grand story now, awaiting the final chapter when we will see Christ face-to-face and dwell with him forever. My prayer is that, as we wait, God would use this resource to help us stand in awe of his matchless glory.  As we encounter the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love for us in Christ, may we move to worship him every day in December and the whole year through.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sarah Rice

Click Here to Download Tracing Glory – Advent Devotional

It would be remiss of me not to thank those who have so graciously contributed their time and gifts to this project. To my pastor John Sloan: Thank you for your time and endorsement in writing the foreword, and thank you for encouraging women to use their gifts in the church. To Brandee Sandusky: Your art work for the cover makes this resource inviting and provides a helpful visual for little ones. Thank you for using your talent to put my vision on paper. To my friend Casey Capps: Thank you for taking time to meticulously proofread for grammar mistakes and answer many capitalization questions. You are a precious friend. Finally, to my husband (and other pastor) Adam Rice: This project would not have been possible without you. Thank you for encouraging me to write, formatting all my work into a document (handling all the “techy” things I don’t know how to do), and listening to me talk about this project for the past two months. You are my greatest supporter, friend, and partner in ministry. I love you! 




9 thoughts on “Tracing Glory: The Christmas Story Through the Bible

  1. This looks totally awesome! I have been on the hunt for a good family advent guide! I found a recommendation through the Classical Conversations Homeschool site. Thank you for taking the time to create this and make it available. (By any chance do you have pictures of your ornaments without the hand in it? I love the idea of making them, but I know that it won’t happen for this year. I would love to just use pictures of yours and modpodge them onto an ornament. No pressure if you don’t, just thought I would ask). Thank you again.

    1. Hi! I don’t have pictures without the hand, but I think the hand could easily be cut out if you just cut out the shape of each ornament. Also, I am offering a giveaway for the Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and star ornaments on Instagram. Search for @gospelshapedwomanhood on Instagram and check out the first post for details on how to enter the giveaway.

  2. Loved the Christmas story through the Bible….love to see this kind of stuff…please keep up the good work….thanks

  3. Sarah,
    THANK YOU for this amazing gift! I have been searching for daily crafts and Bible stories, which lead up to Christmas, to use with my family this season. You have conveniently composed an amazing resource. May God bless you for sharing His story and your talent with others!
    In His Grace,

  4. I really need some information on that tree! It is fabulous and I am going to need one in my house! I can’t wait to share this with my family. ❤️

  5. Thank you for putting together this amazing resource! I’m thinking that coloring pages would help pull together these ideas for little ones. I’m thinking of drawing the images from your cover photo (or something similar) for the kids to color while I do the daily readings.

  6. Hi! I came across your Advent story last year through a fellow missionary friend of mine. We live and work in Tanzania and I immediately got the story translated into Swahili and shared the rough draft with the local community members living with us. This year, I have in mind to review and type out the Swahili version properly to share with wider communities and spread the good news in remote villages, for which I’d need your permission. I hope you could let me know if this is okay. I’d be happy to send you the translation once it’s properly done. With many thanks and prayers.

    1. Hi! That is so humbling and encouraging to hear! I would be so happy for you to translate and share the resource! Praying the Lord will continue to use it as a tool to get the gospel to the ends of the earth. Thank you for the good work you are doing in Tanzania. Would love to see the final translation when it’s done! Blessings!

      1. Hi Sarah! We finally got the Swahili version ready and shared with the missionaries group here yesterday. Many were thrilled and wanted to distribute it in their schools and churches. Praise the Lord! Some suggested that we create coloring book to go with it and others said we add illustrations on each page. There’s lack of good children’s biblical materials in Swahili so thank you for enriching the resources pool. I believe our Lord is very pleased too. I’d be happy to share the Swahili version with you if you would send me your email address.

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