When advent didn’t go as planned, there’s still Christmas Eve {free printable}

December 23, 2013 | 4 comments

We had three different advent options to read through this Christmas season. By December 3rd, we’d (“I’d”) decided to stick to just one…the “Family Promise Tree”(a devotional with accompanying felt ornaments my sister had sewn).

More often than not we read 3 or 4 days worth of devotions in one sitting…because sometimes even the best attempts at making Christmas about Christ can be foiled by busyness and full lives. But no matter how it was done, the promises were shared from Genesis to Micah of a Savior to be a born, a seed to crush the head of Satan. A promised descendent of Abraham who would set the people free.

And even if your December didn’t include a single reading of Scripture with your kids, all is not lost. New traditions can be made and Christmas Eve is the perfect time to open the Bible and read His word. Even the astronauts did it…

On December 24, 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast to that date, the astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman of Apollo 8 surprised the world with a reading of the Creation from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon.

Someone once told me children remember those things done repetitively. Sitting by your feet while you cook dinner. Prayers said at bedtime. Sharing highlights and lowlights around the table. And Christmas Eve traditions apply as well.

It used to be families decorated the tree on Christmas Eve. I remember being allowed to open one present after we came home from church. My husband remembers going an Italian restaurant after attending a candlelight service.

What will your Christmas Eve tradition be? Will you attend a service? Share a family meal?

In case you want to create a Christ-centered Christmas Eve tradition, here’s a devotional plan (and a printable version) for your family. It’s a series of verses to read from the Bible with Christmas Carols intermixed (to keep young children’s attention).

This isn’t fully original, but inspired and shortened from what I found here. Of course if you are attending a church service Christmas Eve you will find a similar organization (see bottom of post for links to Scripture and songs).


(Printable Version–>Christmas Eve Family Devotional )

For the very little ones (under age 5) I would sing “Away in the Manger”, then read the Christmas story in a children’s Bible, then finish with “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night” by candlelight (my favorite part). 

For the more “dramatically” inclined, you could assign roles and act out the Nativity story while a parent reads through Luke 2. You would need: Mary, Joseph, Inn Keeper, a few animals, Shepherds, Angels, Wise Men (and of course a baby doll). May be a good idea when you are with extended family, cousins, etc.

May you enjoy precious memories with your loved ones this Christmas. May you prepare room in your heart and bend your schedules to worship the King. May you see all the gifts God has given you even when it seems you are running on empty. Blessings to you! Thanks for walking the God-centered journey with me in 2013. *heather

Luke 2

Matthew 2

John 1

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

Away in the Manger

The First Noel

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

O Come Let Us Adore Him

We Three Kings

Joy to the World

Silent Night

Merry Christmas from the MacFadyens!!




  1. Alisha

    Thank you so much for this. I’m 34 weeks pregnant and I have a 2 year old as well. I’ve had some physical difficulties the past few months with my pregnancy and haven’t been able/felt well enough to sit down intentionally with my son to complete our Advent activities each day this December … so we are behind in our readings and activities. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself about not spending as much time as I’d planned in the Word with my son considering how hard this pregnancy has been. Your Christmas Eve option is going to be a great finale before we have our birthday party for Jesus on the 25th! Thanks!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Oh sweet momma! Grace abounding. God knows your heart and He sees your service in loving on that tender 2 yr old and growing a precious new baby. Praying you make some special memories tonight and tomorrow. blessings.

  2. Jessica claybrook

    Love this. My family always had a chili dinner on Christmas Eve after my dad read the Christmas story and sang carols. When we were young we each got a few pieces of the nativity scene to hold while my dad read. When we heard our characters mentioned in the story we got up and placed them at the stable. Great for keeping little ones engaged. We did this into my high school years (at least) since my youngest sister is 13 yrs younger than me. After dinner we then opened our presents by the fireplace and had dessert. Like your reminder bc I need to start some good traditions. We did the advent wreath readings this year but need to do a Christmas Eve tradition that my son will remember. Thanks for encouraging moms

    • Heather MacFadyen

      What a FABULOUS idea Jessica! Love that! Having each child hold a character from the nativity set…yes! Merry Christmas!

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