Each of these 24 cards tells a part of the story of the first Christmas that took place over 2,000 years ago.
The text is paraphrased from the first two chapters of Luke and Matthew in the Bible.
How to use
To use the cards for an Advent calendar, starting on the first day of December, display a new card each day, and follow the characters as they prepare for the birth of Baby Jesus.
The cards can also be used to decorate a Christmas tree (punch a hole near the top and add a ribbon to hang the card with), or they can be used to decorate the table for a Christmas meal.
By preparing the picture cards separately from the text cards, the cards can be used to play a game of matching each picture with the corresponding text.
There is a black-and-white version that can be used for a Christmas coloring activity.
1. Elizabeth and Zechariah
Elizabeth and Zechariah lived in a village in Judea. Zechariah was a priest, and they lived good lives in God’s sight, obeying all the Lord’s laws and commands. However, they had no children because Elizabeth had not been able to have a baby. Both were now very old.
2. Zechariah in the Temple
One day Zechariah was working as a priest in the temple. According to the custom, he had been chosen to burn incense on the altar that day.
While the people outside prayed, Zechariah entered the temple. Suddenly, an angel appeared.
3. The Angel’s Message to Zechariah
Upon seeing the angel, Zechariah was afraid, but the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah. God has heard your prayers. Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son, and you are to name him John. He will be great in the Lord’s sight, and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.”
4. Zechariah Cannot Talk
Zechariah said to the angel, “How is this possible? I am an old man, and my wife is also old.”
The angel answered, “I am Gabriel; I stand in the presence of God, who sent me to speak to you and tell you this great news. Though you haven’t believed my message, it will come true at the right time. Because you have not believed, you will be unable to talk until the day my promise to you comes true.”
5. Joseph and Mary Are Betrothed
Many kilometers away, in the town of Nazareth, lived a young woman named Mary. She was promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Joseph worked as a carpenter.
6. An Angel Visits Mary
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to visit Mary in Nazareth. Gabriel said, “Peace be with you. The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”
Mary was confused by the angel’s message when he said, “You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus.”
7. Nothing Is Impossible to God
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.”
Mary said, “But I haven’t done anything to have a baby.”
Gabriel answered, “The power of God will bring this baby. Remember your relative Elizabeth, about whom it was said that she couldn’t have children? But even though she is now too old, she is six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible to God!”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. And Gabriel left her.
8. Mary Visits Elizabeth
Soon afterward, Mary hurried off to visit Elizabeth.
She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.
9. Mary and Elizabeth
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby within her jumped. Elizabeth then loudly said, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”
Mary said, “My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Savior. From now on, all people will call me blessed because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me. His name is Holy.”
10. Elizabeth Gives Birth to John
The time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. People were sure the baby would be named Zechariah after his father. However, Elizabeth said, “No! His name is to be John.”
Then they looked to his father, asking him what name he would like the boy to have. Zechariah wrote, “His name is John.” At that moment Zechariah was able to speak again, and he started praising God.
11. An Angel Appears to Joseph
After Mary arrived back in Nazareth, Joseph understood that she was pregnant. Because he was a man who always did what was right, Joseph knew he couldn’t marry Mary if she was already pregnant and would need to cancel the marriage.
But an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus.”
12. Decree from Rome
Around that time in Rome, Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. For the census, everyone had to travel to their hometown to be registered.
(A census is a count a government makes of people living in a certain area.)
13. Travel to Bethlehem
Because Joseph was a descendant of David, he had to go from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. So, Joseph and his pregnant wife, Mary, made the long journey to Bethlehem.
14. No Room
When they arrived in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her baby, but there was nowhere for Joseph and Mary to stay. Due to the many visitors who came from other cities, there was no place left for them.
15. Settled in the Stable
Finally, a kind man, realizing that Mary was about to give birth, gave them permission to spend the night in a stable so they would have a warm place to stay with the animals. That night Jesus was born!
16. Shepherds in the Field
In the fields outside of Bethlehem, shepherds were spending the night caring for their flocks of sheep. It was a long and cold night, and the shepherds stayed close to the fire to keep warm. All was very quiet; the sky was full of stars.
17. An Angel Appears to the Shepherds
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a bright light shone in the night. The shepherds were frightened.
The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I’m here with news that will bring great joy.
“Today in Bethlehem the Savior is born! You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
18. Many Angels Sing
Suddenly, a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, who shows His love for mankind!”
When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what this is that the Lord has told us about.”
19. Magi Observe a Star
Far away in another country to the east, magi—wise men who studied the sky—saw a new star appear. They recognized this as a sign from God that a great king had been born.
20. Magi Travel to Jerusalem
The magi journeyed from far in the east to the land of Judea to worship this newborn baby. They brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to present to this new king.
Matthew 2:1–2, 11
21. Magi Visit King Herod
In Jerusalem, when the magi asked King Herod where the new king had been born, he then asked the chief priests and the teachers of the Law, “Where is the Messiah to be born?”
“In the town of Bethlehem in Judea,” they answered. And Herod told the magi.
22. Magi Travel to Bethlehem
As they journeyed to Bethlehem, the magi saw the same star they had seen in the east. With great joy they followed it until it stopped over the place where the child was.
The shepherds had found the stable with Joseph and Mary, where they also saw the manger with the child just as the angel had told them.
When the magi arrived to visit the child, they knelt down and presented their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the new king.
Luke 2:16–19; Matthew 2:11
24. Jesus Is King
His name is Jesus. He is the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God made Him a king, giving Him the throne of His ancestor David. His kingdom will be without boundaries, and it will never end!
Authored, illustrated, and designed by Didier Martin.
Copyright © 2022 by Didier Martin. Used by Permission.