Monday, December 21, 2015

Janeen Ippolito | Spread the Christmas Joy

One of my favorite Christmas memories is also a Christmas tradition--about traditions! This is the fourth year I have assigned a set of students my international Christmas tradition project. They have to choose a country, research how that country celebrates Christmas, and then make a report on it, complete with presentation. For extra credit they can bring in a Christmas dish from that country on the last day of school before break.

It's wonderful to see the students' enthusiasm over this project! They'll choose their country based on family heritage, a desire to visit that location, or simple curiosity. But they are fascinated by the way different cultures have chosen to honor the Christmas day. They also learn more about the realities of faith. For instance, in Japan, Christmas is far more like Valentine's Day, and isn't considered a public holiday. Schools are often open, people celebrate with KFC or American meals, and few celebrate Christ's birth. I love seeing their eyes open to the blessing of their faith and our country that, even though there are protests, still honors the truth of this holiday in many ways.

On Wednesday, we'll be able to celebrate with treats and they'll make Christmas cards with Scripture verses inside them. And I'll thank God that we live in a country where this is possible. Praise Him that around the world, many other brothers and sisters in Christ will also be celebrating in truth. And pray for the outreaches that happen around this time, that they will reach into the hearts of many and draw them to see the beauty and grace of the most indescribable gift, Jesus Christ.

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 
-2 Corinthians 9:15

Janeen Ippolito is an English teacher by day, a sword-fighter by night and a writer by heart. She has a B.A. in Cross-Cultural Studies, Writing, and ESL and has a passion for using cultures to build speculative stories. She is the author of World-Building From the Inside Out, a book and upcoming workbook on how to write cultures in speculative fiction. In her spare time she makes brownie batter, reads, and grades papers while watching speculative television shows. She loves connecting with readers and writers, so find her on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog,

Janeen is offering an eBook version of her textbook AND workbook World-Building From the inside Out!

World-Building From the Inside Out
Memorable world-building begins with unique cultures. Find the core of your science fiction or fantasy people and instill your narrative with universal themes and concepts derived from real-world people-groups. World-Building From the Inside Out challenges you to go deep and build fantastical cultures that truly bring your story to life!

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