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The Christmas We Didn’t Expect

Daily Devotions for Advent


The most unexpected and significant event in the history of the world actually happened over 2,000 years ago when God himself became one of us in the person of Jesus Christ.

These Advent reflections, written by David Mathis, help us to lift our eyes to the wonder of the incarnation, and worship the One who came to save us and make our futures certain.

Be amazed once more by the unexpected details of Jesus’s unique birth and saving work with these short daily devotions and prayers, and renew your worship of our humble, generous, and loving Savior.


  • Theologically rich. Heartwarmingly profound. David Mathis is a sure guide to both the simplicity and the complexity of Christ’s coming, and he leads us in a way which is deeply thoughtful, refreshingly insightful, and thoroughly worshipful. This daily devotional manages to be soaring and searing at the same time. It will cause you to marvel at the Lord Jesus Christ and to think long and hard about what (and how) we’re celebrating, and it will breathe new life into the Christmas season. I look forward to using it and pray that others will do the same. Gary Millar, Principal, Queensland Theological College
  • I sometimes worry that daily devotional books, while being strong on devotion, give up something in terms of theology. It does not need to be this way, and David Mathis, in this Advent devotional, proves that true devotion arises out of theologically rich truth. We are to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’—I think this excellent little book helps us to do just that. Mark Jones
  • While the people, places, and plot line of that first Christmas will ring familiar, there are surprising realities surrounding the birth, life, and death of our Savior Jesus that will make your heart sing. With accessible and pastoral prose, Mathis weaves together biblical, doctrinal, and practical truths into a beautiful tapestry that not only introduces us to the many important truths surrounding Jesus’s person and work, but also reveals why they are so vital to our daily walk with God. Julius Kim
  • For many, the familiar surfaces of the Christmas story cover unexamined depths. Within this warmly devotional and richly theological book, David Mathis meditates upon some of the great truths of the season, exploring wonderful mysteries that will encourage readers to hear its two-thousand-year-old story once again, as if for the first time. Alastair Roberts
  • No Advent calendars for sale this Christmas can offer what lies behind the windows David Mathis opens in The Christmas We Didn’t Expect. True to its title, it is full of surprises. So, buy it, and carefully unwrap each Advent treat (no more than one a day, or you may spoil your appetite). Then let it melt slowly on your spiritual taste buds and enjoy what Isaiah (the Christmas prophet) called ‘rich food.’ Sinclair Ferguson, Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Christmas is a time in which we tend to find joy in traditions. But traditions are not static, and we benefit from sometimes examining and updating them. Perhaps it is time to update your personal or family traditions with this wonderful series of Advent devotionals. They are fresh, applicable, and deeply biblical. They may just become a precious part of your Christmas tradition this year and in the years to come. Tim Challies, Writer at
  • Christmas contains so many delightful surprises, whether presents tucked secretly under the tree or much-loved visitors arriving at your door with arms full of gifts. These delights pale in comparison, though, to the astounding surprises you’ll discover in The Christmas We Didn’t Expect. David Mathis reveals fascinating twists and turns on every page of the Christmas story. There is always something new to learn about Christ’s birth, and this fresh collection of insights truly delivers. My husband, Ken, and I are already planning to use this remarkable book for our devotional reading this Christmas—and we urge you to join us! Joni Eareckson Tada, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Joni and Friends