Christmas 2022 | JOY for Today

JOY to the world! He is with us. May your Christmas be full of JOY as you abide in His glorious presence!

A bible with Christmas lights in the background. John 1:14 quoted in the foreground "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

JOY for Today Offerings:


Did You Know:

  1. December 25 is, more than likely, not Jesus' actual birthdate? While it has become our tradition to celebrate His birth in December, He was more likely born in fall or summer. (Belief Net)
  2. Jesus' birth was not precisely on the fold of B.C./A.D.? While His birth was the reason for the label change (from Before Christ to Anno Domini - the year of our Lord), His birth was not precisely at the transition. The main reason being that the idea for the label change did not emerge until 525 A.D. By that time, it was not only challenging to uncover His precise birth year, but it also took less precedence than accurately calculating the date of His resurrection. Modern scholars place his birth between 2 and 3 BC. (Bible Study Tools)
  3. Many of our modern Christmas traditions come from Germany? While some of the following traditions originate in other locations, we can thank Germany for tying them with Christmas: Christmas trees, Advent wreaths and calendars, fruitcake, and St. Nicholas Day. (Trip Savvy)
  4. "Silent Night" is the most recorded Christmas song? The song (with lyrics by Joseph Franz Mohr and composition by Franz Xaver Grober) made its debut at an Austrian church in 1818. Since 1978, "Silent Night" has had 733 recorded versions copyrighted, yet Bing Crosby's version (1945) remains a popular choice. (Good HousekeepingChristian Post, and BBC)
  5. "Santa Baby" is the most popular Christmas song by state? Finance Buzz conducted a survey of popular Christmas songs to help businesses create holiday playlists that appeal to each region. Eight states named "Santa Baby" as their favorite Christmas song. See your state's favorite, along with a most annoying list, at Finance Buzz.

We'd Love to Know:

Which fact interests you?


Wolfe Stew Connects

Love came down at Christmas.

For many of us, Christmas is an extended celebration of love: the love of family, of friends, of strangers, and of those in need.

The disconnect comes in the decision to include or exclude God from this list. For some of us, God is love (I John 4:8) and Christmas loses its meaning if we remove Him. 

Yet, our celebration of Christmas is not dependent on a calendar date. Reminders of our Christmas story surround us every day. A baby cries reminding us that God entrusted His only begotten son into the care of flawed humanity. Farm animals graze and we see our God in a manger. Seemingly random events lead to well-orchestrated results, and we see prophecy, wisemen, a star, and a perplexed king. A unique message intimately received overtakes our thoughts propelling us forward, and we see an angel in the middle of a field surrounded by shepherds. 

His story is our story. 

He came to be with us physically for a time so that we can remain together for eternity. Through Jesus' birth, we see love in action and receive the good news:
God really loves us. We are not alone. (Crowder)

In response:

  1. Choose a detail from the story of Jesus' birth that moves you. Recognize love's presence in it. Visualize your chosen detail as you open your heart to grow in giving and receiving love.
  2. Learn how He persists in holding our tomorrows by joining us in our GROWTH focus next week. 

Bible Verses and Quotes 

Bible Verses

  • "She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [He Saves], because he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21 GW
  • "While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn't any room for them in the inn." Luke 2:6-7 GW
  • "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11 KJV
  • "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:14 KJV
  • "But when the right time came, God sent his Son into the world. A woman gave birth to him, and he came under the control of the laws given to Moses. God sent him to pay for the freedom of those who were controlled by these laws so that we would be adopted as his children." Galatians 4:4-5 GW

Quotes

  • "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." - Roy L. Smith
  • "Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" - Dr. Seuss
  • "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." - Will Ferrell
  • "You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving." - Victor Hugo
  • "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote best represents Christmas to you?

 

Activity Suggestions

These activities are family focused as we are assuming most people will be home at Christmas. Find a printable version at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Our Nephew's Suggestion:

Wear a Santa hat!
And he has, throughout December.

Our Suggestions: 

Sing Christmas Songs

Have each person choose their favorite Christmas song. Then:
  • Put the title of each song on a separate piece of paper and draw one at a time out to sing as a group.
  • Make a playlist and play the songs when you are altogether. 
  • Use the song lyrics for charade or Pictionary clues.

Discuss "Would You Rather..." Questions

  • Sing Christmas carols or read Christmas stories?
  • Stay at home or visit someplace special?
  • Receive one present you really wanted or get lots of presents that you did not want?
If you would like three "Would You Rather...?" questions for every December day, download this Wolfe Stew PowerPoint.

Participate in a Family Challenge

Read the story of Jesus birth in Matthew 1:18-2:23 or Luke 2:1-20. Share the part that you value most and explain why. Have each person create an artistic representation of his or her valued detail. After displaying them this year, pack them away in the Christmas boxes for next year.

We'd Love to Know:

What is your favorite Christmas detail?



We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. Come back next week for... National Thank Goodness It's Monday Day!


Fighting the Good Fight with You,

Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.



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