Winter Solstice | JOY for Today

Winter often denotes a season of waiting - waiting for the thaw so life can begin again. It's what we do in the waiting that's challenging. Whether you approach this winter with wonder or discontent, we're praying JOY finds you in it.

A snow-covered rocky around centered around a small snowman against a brown fence. Text overlay quotes Job 37:5-6 and reminds of Winter Solstice's time.
December 21, 2022

JOY for Today Offerings:


Did You Know:

  1. Japan gets more snow than most countries? Of the top ten snowiest destinations HGTV lists, five are in Japan. Niseko, Japan tops the list with an average annual snowfall of 50 feet. (Fact City, and HGTV)
  2. Russia experiences the coldest winters? Canada comes in second and Mongolia third. (Fact City)
  3. Humans undergo a type of hibernation? While we do not sleep through the winter, we do eat and sleep more because of the decreased daylight hours which increases our fat stores. (Fact City & Daily Mail)
  4. Reindeer can see in the dark because of winter conditions? Reindeer live in the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle undergoes a period of complete darkness during the winter months. An example of animal adaptation to complete darkness is the reindeer's ability to see in the dark. What's more, they locate each other in snowstorms by listening for the click-clack sound made by feet bones snapping over tendons as they walk. (Fact City and A to Z Animals)
  5. Snow can, and has, rolled itself? In 2018, residents of Ottawa, Canada witnessed a unique weather phenomenon akin to tumbleweeds made of snow. The wind pushed snow in such a way that it rolled into hollow cylinders. Other names for the rollers include "snow bales," "wind snowballs," and "snow donuts." Watch a video about them at National Geographic

We'd Love to Know:

Which fact most fascinates you?


Wolfe Stew Connects

As I think about winter, there are two ways I think you can take it: in wonder or with discontent. 

The Wonder of Winter appears as snowflakes dancing across the sky, freshly white blanketed fields, snowball fights, intricately designed ice crystals, rosy cheeks, comforting beverages, warmth amid freezing temperatures, and laughter of friends.

Winter, interpreted through the perspective of wonder, is a time of beauty, excitement, and mystery. Observed through this lens, we spend winter marveling, connecting, exploring, and singing (along with Big Daddy Weave):

I see the work of your hands. Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance, oh God, all that You are is so overwhelming.
And we delight ourselves in Him.

The Winter of Discontent appears as snowstorms of chaos across gloomy skies, barren landscapes in gray, annoying interruptions, countless hazards, chapped lips, bitter drinks, constant unforgiving cold, and isolation. 

Winter, interpreted through the perspective of discontent, is a time of pain, despair, and longing. Observed through this lens, we spend winter angry, bitter, alone, and grumbling. But (in the words of Hillsong) ...

I believe that your season will come.

And we learn to wait on Him. 

Which way is winter welcoming you this year, with wonder or discontent? Have you experienced both types of winter? Do you wonder how people could ever experience winter in the other way? Or does your view of winter change throughout the season? However your winter story unfolds this year, I hope you find God a central theme of it.

In response:

  1. Identify whether you are leaning more toward wonder or discontent. Listen to the corresponding song. What lyric resounds within you? Connect with God. Bring Him your hopes and fears for this season.
  2. Learn to linger in His unending love by joining us in our GROWTH focus next week. 

Bible Verses and Quotes 

Bible Verses

  • "She is not worried about the cold or snow for her family, for she has clothed them all in warm, crimson coats." Proverbs 31:21 The Voice
  • "God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things that we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, 'Come on the earth,' likewise to the gentle rain and to the heavy rain of His strength." Job 37:5-6 MEV
  • "He blankets the earth in woolly snow, scattering frost like ashes over the land. He throws down hail like stones falling from a mountain. Can any withstand His wintry blast? But He dispatches His word, and the thaw begins; at His command, the spring winds blow, gently stirring the waters back to life." Psalm 147:16-18 The Voice
  • "For as rain and snow can't go back once they've fallen, / but soak into the ground / And nourish the plants that grow, / providing seed to the farmer and bread for the hungry, / So it is when I declare something. / My word will go out and not return to Me empty, / But it will do what I wanted; / it will accomplish what I determined." Isaiah 55:10-11 The Voice
  • "Come, let's talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!" Isaiah 1:18 TLB

Quotes

  • "It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it." - John Burroughs
  • "How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!" - Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • "No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." - Hal Borland
  • "Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." - Victor Hugo
  • "Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home." - Edith Sitwell

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote defines winter best for you?

 

Activity Suggestions

These resources focus on science. Find a printable version at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Our Nephew's Suggestion:

Wear a jacket!
While we're not sure how much this actually honors the first day of winter, we do think it is solid advice for those of us in cold weather.

Our Suggestions: 

Science of Winter

"Would You Rather..." Questions

  • It always snowed or always rained?
  • Hibernate or migrate for the winter?
  • Warm yourself by the fireplace or under a warm blanket?
If you would like three "Would You Rather...?" questions for every December day, download this Wolfe Stew PowerPoint.

Family Challenge

Make a list of winter activities, making sure each member contributes equally. Cut the list up and put the activities in a coffee mug. Each Sunday, draw one activity, plan out how you’ll do it, and schedule it in your calendars.

We'd Love to Know:

What winter activity tops your list?



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... Christmas!


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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