Issue IV

Special Christmas 2020 Special


And some additional Christmas-themed recommendations:


‘Joy to the World’ was written by English hymnist Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 96, 98, and Genesis 3. Mr. Watts also wrote many poems. ‘Joy to the World’ was first published in 1719, in his collection of ‘The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship.’ In the late twentieth century, ‘Joy to the World’ was one of the most published hymns in North America.

‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’ was first published in 1780, inspired by the celebration from December 25th to January 5th, known as the twelve days of Christmas or Twelvetide. Twelvetide was celebrated in many churches during the Middle Ages, and is the theme for Shakspeare’s play Twelfth Night. In this carol, someone is receiving a gift from their true love on each of the twelve days. An interesting thing is that when the person is said to receive ‘four calling birds’ it was originally written as ‘four colly birds’. Colly is another word for blackbird. Another tidbit concerning the Twelfth Night is that you would have a feast, where one of the main desserts was ‘Twelfth Night cake’ or ‘King’s cake’, which is more closely associated with Mardi Gras today.

‘I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day’ is after the poem ‘Christmas Bells’, that was written in 1863 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, after hearing the news that one of his sons, who was fighting in the Union Army, had been severely wounded in the battle of Mine Run. The poem was put to its most widely familiar tune in 1872 by English organist John Baptiste Calkin.


Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivan Walsh and J.otto Seiblod A pup named Olive hears her name in a carol on the radio. Thinking she is really a reindeer, she immediately heads for the North Pole to help Santa. Though this reindeer can’t fly, find out how Santa uses Olive in a special way.

Christmas Every Day by William Dean Howells A little girl asks her father for a Christmas story; he tells a tale of a little girl who asks a Christmas fairy to make every day Christmas for one year. However, will Christmas every day bring the girl as much joy as expected?

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry It’s Christmas Eve, and there is only $1.87 for Della to buy a gift for her Jim. This famous O. Henry story of love’s sacrifice will warm the hearts of readers just as it did so many years ago.

Bethlehem’s Busy: What’s going on? (Reader’s Digest Young Families) In this colorful lift-the-flap book, learn intriguing facts as you follow a mysterious young couple while they travel through the streets of Bethlehem.