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  • Where do you find prayer in the biblical story of the birth of Jesus?
  • How important is prayer in your congregation's celebration of Christmas?
  • How do you integrate prayer into family Christmas gatherings?
  • Christmas morning?
  • ...?


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Carol and I received this note from friends we had sent a Christmas card to --


Thanks for your Christmas card …

This year Kathy and I are taking the Christmas cards we received and pulling one out each week and praying for that individual or family.Yours was the 5th one selected, so I just wanted to let you know that we have been praying for you thisweek (January 30 – February 5).Phil, we have been praying for your ministry, alongwith future teaching and preaching opportunities. We have lifted up your financial needs. Carol, we have been praying for your physical health. We have asked our Lord to bless your marriage in some special way in the coming year. And, recognizing the joy of being grandparents ourselves, we have been praying for your grandchildren, and their coming to faith.


Blessings and love,Rande & Kathy


“I thank my God for you every time I think of you; and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy.”

Check out this post from Pray! membr Dan Crawford @


The First Day of Advent
Invite an unbelieving neighbor, co-worker, or relative for a cup of coffee or a meal. Ask him or her to share a Christmas family tradition and then share how you are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.>>>

Advent Bible Plans from YouVersion help you prepare your heart for Christmas. Having trouble seeing this email? Click here.

Do You Have Plans for Advent? Yes!

Advent is here! Every year, beginning four Sundays before Christmas, Christians all over the world prepare their hearts to celebrate the gift of Immanuel, “God with us.” YouVersion offers several Bible Plans to help you reflect on Jesus' birth. This year, we have more plans for you than ever before. Find the plan that’s just right for you—or try several!

  • Countdown to Christmas is an Advent calendar that teaches your whole family the significance of Christmas through fun activities. From Thriving Family.29 days
  • Rediscovering the Christmas Season features reflection questions and action steps that help you focus on Christ every day between December 1 and Christmas. From 25 days
  • The Christmas Story starts with Old Testament prophecies about the coming Savior, then turns to the Gospel accounts of his glorious arrival. From YouVersion. 5 days
  • Joy to Your World explores the significance of the first Christmas and how it intersects with each of our lives today. From Carol McLeod. 25 days
  • She Reads Truth: Advent is a unique plan for women who are committed to daily reading and being changed by God’s Word this Christmas season. From She Reads Truth. 28 days

Find even more Christmas and Advent plans on YouVersion!

New NIV Audio Version

One of the YouVersion community's favorite ways to keep up with daily Bible time is by enjoying audio versions…on the way to work, school, or right at home. And now, thanks to Biblica, you can listen to a new audio version of the NIV that includes the latest updates to the text. Featuring actor and storyteller Max McLean, the NIV Listener's Bible is also available on CDand as a digital download.

Share the Love of Jesus this Season

The holidays offer us chance after chance to share our faith with friends, family, and others. And the Bible App makes it so easy! This season, look for those ideal opportunities where you can share your faith, simply by showing them your Bible App:

  • When someone receives a new mobile device as a gift
  • As you attend Christmas services
  • When you read the Christmas story with your family

Best of all, it's quick and easy to help others get their own Bible App—no matter what kind of mobile device they have. Tell them they can just go to or, even better, install it for them!

Ideas for using Facebook @ Christmas
12 Days of Christmas - Helpful Stuff for Pastors


Hey, it's Michael from the Rocket Company, and it's the Second Day of Christmas

Instead of sending you two turtle doves, I thought I'd send you a list of how you can use two social media tools to connect with your church this Christmas season. 

We've put together twelve easy and practical ways for you to engage with people through Facebook and Twitter. These done-for-you activities will help you start faith conversations and build up folks. 

You can do one of these every day until Christmas Day: 
1. Copy and paste the lyrics of your favorite Christmas song on Facebook and ask others which is their favorite song of the season. 

2. Tweet and Facebook a picture of a wrapped present with the copy: "Guess what's inside? Whoever guesses it (or comes close), wins!" Ship it to the winner. Here's some ideas for the present: a nativity set, tree topper, ornament, Starbucks gift certificate. 

3. Invite people on Twitter and Facebook to volunteer with you this month to help people in your community. Share what you are going to do and ask them to share what they are going to do. You could sign up at a soup kitchen, ring a Salvation Army bell, serve meals in a homeless shelter, buy gifts for those in need or pay someone's electrical bill. 

4. Post a photo of you celebrating Christmas as a child and share a holiday memory you have from that time in your life. Ask others to post a photo and share a memory. 

5. The Christmas season can be stressful. Tweet and Facebook an invite to send you a private message if they want prayer. Reply with a private typed out prayer from your heart for them. 

6. Challenge your followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook to find and take a picture of the ugliest Christmas sweater they've ever seen and post it. 

7. Tweet and Facebook the following question: "Do you remember what you asked Santa to bring you for Christmas as a child?" Share what you asked for with them. 

8. Briefly share why God's gift of Jesus Christ changed your life. Ask your friends and followers to share an event that changed their lives forever. 

9. Post a picture of something that is symbolic within your church. It could be the cross, your baptistery, the piano, the pews or the front door. Explain why it's significant. Ask your friends and followers to post items that are special to them this time of year. 

10. Tweet and Facebook the following question: "What is the best Christmas gift you've ever received?" Be sure to share your answer. 

11. Pick an annual event in your city. Perhaps, it's the local Christmas parade or a celebration of the season. Tweet and Facebook that you'll be there and would love to meet as a group to enjoy the event together. 

12. Share the following video on Twitter and Facebook: Few explain the meaning of Christmas better than Linus. 

As you share each of these with folks on your social networks, send me a note to let me know how it's going. I know you'll be able to start a bunch of conversations that matter. 

The Rocket Company
This season I have found my prayer to be that I would have the truth and wonder of Christmas to become fresh in my heart. I find that it is all too easy to fall into routine and to join the worldly rush of the holiday season. I need Him to give my heart a fresh revelation!
Thank you for this good reminder ...

Matthew 1:20-24   An Angel appeared to Joseph and instructed him.  That is what prayer is all about....While Jesus thought about these things......pondering....contemplating. 

Prayer is very important to our dwindling congregation.  Today we had a new member born to a young couple who are members of the church...Praise the Lord.  And we all prayed for that baby and the mother who did well.

I gave a journey...Jesus Calling to my daughter in law and our oldest daughter for Christmas....neither are attending a church and do not serve the Lord as we know Him.

My husband I and hem our days in with devotion and prayer.

Pray is an integral part of my life.  I am the prayer partner of many of my pastors of the past and those now.

What is Your Response to the Birth of Jesus?

After the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, they ran to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph and the baby was lying in a manger.


  • The shepherds were so excited they told everyone what they had seen. All who heard the shepherd’s story were astonished. The shepherds went back to the fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God. 
  • Mary quietly treasured all these things in her heart and thought about what had happened often. ₁
  • The wise men brought Jesus expensive gifts and worshipped him.₂

Now the Christmas celebrations are over, the tree will come down soon, the decorations put away for another year.

What is your response to the birth of Jesus Christ?

  • Are you glorifying and praising God for sending his Son into the world to save our sins?
  • Are you worshipping the Lord and quietly meditating on His Word?
  • Pray that your children and grandchildren’s response to the birth of Christ will be one of glorifying and praising God for the new life he provided.
  • Pray they will stand as a symbol of hope in a dark world, adorned with God’s strength and beauty. 

Don’t pack Jesus away with the Christmas ornaments until next Christmas. 

My prayer is that your response is to grow in your spiritual life so you will be able to be an even greater godly influence in the lives of your grandchildren in 2014.    

By Lillian Penner

₁ Taken from Luke 2:15-20

₂ Matthew 2:11










AChristmas Prayer

We, like the shepherds in the field, like the woman at the tomb, are astonished, trembling in wonder and in fear.

Mark Galli

When family and friends gather at our home for Christmas or Thanksgiving, I compose a prayer for the occasion. It usually coincides with themes that are engaging me at the moment. Here is what I plan to pray this Christmas day:

Almighty and Eternal God,
infinite and holy,
whose being genius cannot fathom,
whose works galaxies cannot contain,
Before you we gratefully come, celebrating the day
when you, the Almighty, did not count omnipotence a thing to be grasped,
when Eternity played by the calendar,
when Infinity was checked by gravity,
when Holiness mixed it up with sinners,
when the Creator of intergalactic space
became a body
and moved into our neighborhood.
Today we revel in the revelation
that we who were light-years distant
have been drawn to you as breath in lungs,
that we who had lost ... Read complete prayer>>>

How should we then pray?"/> 



(Matthew 2:16-18)

Pastor Heath Tibbetts

First Baptist Church, Machesney Park, IL


This is the saddest part of the Christmas story. And for many people, it's also the most uncomfortable. Some Bibles use as a heading for this passage "slaughter of the innocents." Why would God allow such a horrible event to follow such a joyful one? 


Herod is angered because the Wise Men do not return. He exacts his revenge on Bethlehem. Fearful of being deposed, he seeks to eliminate his replacement. Scholars debate the number of boy babies slain, but given the size of Bethlehem, it is probably between 20 and 40. 


Anyone who has lost a loved one knows the anguish of even one death. Multiply that by dozens, and we can only imagine the grief in Bethlehem. 


What is God's point? Look at the tragedy in Bethlehem as a great and pitiful word picture. 


God wants us to know that sending His Son into the world is exceedingly joyful and deeply sorrowful. Contrast Christmas morning and Good Fridaynight.The joy of our salvation has a high price. Angels sing as they welcomed his birth; sinners weep at their Savior's sacrifice.




Lord, thank you for sending Jesus. I begin now to understand what it cost Him -- and You.

Thank you, Lillian Penner. I have begun following you your blog and comments, Praying Grandparent. I just received your book, which I ordered for my sister-in-law and myself. My most urgent ongoing prayer is for my children to follow God and to take their children to church. 30+ years ago, my husband and I decided that perhaps we should take our children to church as, "There might be something moral or ethical that we would miss teaching them." !!! Little did we know!!! My hope for my children and grandchildren is based in what God has done for me, to me, and through me - and how He goes on blessing me with the reality of Himself. I see Him move in the lives of others and know I pray in His will, also that He does not force us to Himself. My hope lives and I am grateful, loving my Lord more each day, serving Him as I seek to hear Him, see Him, follow Him. Your published words are a help to me, and I receive the prayer you pray above. Shalom ... Molly

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