Good Tidings of Great Joy typography
Christmas typography

often includes both incredible wonders and intense challenges. For some, this Christmas will be one without a budget to spend or without the ability to travel and visit family, or it could be the first Christmas missing a loved one. For still others, it will be a joyous holiday gathered together as a family and treasuring this time. Whether or not you anticipate joy as a part of your holiday season, let me encourage you with this thought:

Of any people on the earth, we really have something to celebrate! Whether or not there are external things to be joyful about right now, we will always have this:

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
— Ephesians 2:13 NKJV

Thanks be to Jesus! In Luke 2:10, the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”

Did you know God is Joyful? Do you see Him that way? I think we sometimes imagine Him up in heaven continually shaking His head at the world. The Bible says in John 15, which includes the beautiful passage about how we are to remain connected to the vine, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Not only is He full of joy, He wants that for us too! Psalms 16:11 says it this way, “In Your presence is fullness of joy.”

The journey we’re on is one of seasons. We will have seasons when joy comes easily. We will have seasons when it feels like a long lost friend. But the truth is, there are some things that do not come and go, eternal truths we can grasp onto when joy might feel distant. God created us in His image. Joy is available for us because it’s part of His nature. It originates in Him and is one of the fruits of His Spirit. When you spend time with the Lord, whether through worship, reading the Word, or prayer, what happens to you? I know for me, my problems tend to get smaller and my sense of hope begins to overshadow everything else. When we commune with our Heavenly Father, we can’t help but be touched by His nature.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
— Romans 15:13 NIV

We forget sometimes that the joy, peace, and hope we long for comes from God. It flows to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not something we can work up within ourselves. It is a gift like everything else Jesus died to give us. So today, relinquish the pressure to drum up something that doesn’t come from you anyway, and the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.

I know you’ll be blessed as you read the articles in this year’s Holiday Edition. Some are inspiring, others are funny, and some include practical activity suggestions and even ready-to-use lessons. I encourage you, if you are going through a season of suffering, don’t miss Brook Wayne’s Choosing Joy in Suffering. Consider sowing some seed in someone else’s family through the giving opportunity in Brook’s article, knowing that you’ll also be investing in your own. Co-Executive Editor Kay Chance has written a Christmas Devotional, a piece on cultivating joy you won’t want to miss, and among other great articles, our sweet friend Sara shares her incredible story of God’s faithfulness in God’s Got This! The YES that Brings Hope. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas,
Ashley fancy signature

shley Wiggers grew up in the early days of the homeschooling movement. She was taught by her late mother, Debbie Strayer, who was an educator, speaker, and the author of numerous homeschooling materials. It was through Debbie’s encouragement and love that Ashley learned the value of being homeschooled. Currently, Ashley is the co-executive editor of Homeschooling Today magazine, public relations director for Geography Matters, and the author of the Profiles from History series. Ashley makes her home in Somerset, KY, with her loving husband, Alex, and their precious sons, Lincoln and Jackson.