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Hebrews 12:10-11 God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.

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Presentation on theme: "Hebrews 12:10-11 God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful."— Presentation transcript:

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3 Hebrews 12:10-11 God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

4 Romans 2:4 God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance…

5 Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” 3 What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. 7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than

6 Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. 11 No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.

7 WHAT DOES SANTA TELL US ABOUT OURSELVES? various texts

8 We are products of historical forces beyond ourselves St. Nicholas of Myra was a 4 th c. Greek Christian bishop (now Turkey)  Famous for generous gifts to the poor  In Europe usually depicted in bishop’s robes  For hundreds of years, on the evening before his day of veneration (Dec. 6 th ), children were bestowed gifts in his honor  Custom of giving gifts at Christmas (instead of St. Nicholas Day) propagated by Martin Luther as alternative to the veneration of saints

9 We are products of historical forces beyond ourselves Pre-Christian Germanic celebration of Yule  Mid-winter event…  Ghostly occurrences said to increase in frequency, including the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky Led by the god Odin Long white beard Gray horse Hooded cloak Visited people with gifts by entering the house via chimneys fire holes

10 We are products of historical forces beyond ourselves Modern developments in America  “Santa Claus” first used in American press in 1773 in Washington Irving’s History of New York (thick bellied Dutch sailor with pipe and green winter coat…parody of Dutch culture of NY)  Many modern ideas came via an anonymous poem on Dec. 23, 1823 called A Visit from St. Nicholas (now called The Night Before Christmas)  Further cemented ideas via Coca-Cola’s 1930’s advertising campaigns

11 We are products of historical forces beyond ourselves Modern developments in America  Kids taking pictures at department stores started back in 1918 (marketing ploy)  Letters to Santa started at least in the early 1900’s  Salvation Army dresses up workers like Santa and has them ring a bell to seek to induce generosity

12 We are products of historical forces beyond ourselves Criticisms of Santa & Christmas?  17 th century English Puritans & Dutch Calvinists Banned the Christmas holiday & St. Nicholas association because was viewed as too pagan and too Roman Catholic

13 We are products of historical forces beyond ourselves Criticisms of Santa & Christmas?  Modern non-religious criticisms “The adults they count on to provide reliable information about the world introduce them to Santa. Then his existence is affirmed by friends, books, TV and movies. It is also validated by hard evidence: the half-eaten cookies and empty milk glasses by the tree on Christmas morning. In other words, children do a great job of scientifically evaluating Santa. And adults do a great job of duping them.” -Jacqueline Woolley in NY Times

14 We are products of historical forces beyond ourselves Criticisms of Santa & Christmas?  Modern non-religious criticisms “Is it not possible that kids would find at least as much pleasure in knowing that parents are responsible for Christmas, not a supernatural stranger?” -Austin Cline (atheist writer)

15 We mold our “gods” to fit our own image & then we are molded into their image Isaiah 44: The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint. 13 The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory, that it may dwell in a shrine.

16 We mold our “gods” to fit our own image & then we are molded into their image "Our jolly old Saint Nicholas reflects our culture to a T, for he is fanciful, exuberant, bountiful, over-weight, and highly commercial. He also mirrors some of our highest ideals: childhood purity and innocence, selfless giving, unfaltering love, justice, and mercy. (What child has ever received a coal for Christmas?) The problem is that, in the process, he has become burdened with some of society's greatest challenges: materialism, corporate greed, and domination by the media. Here, Santa carries more in his baggage than toys alone!” -Carol Jean-Swanson

17 We mold our “gods” to fit our own image & then we are molded into their image Psalm 115: Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. 4 But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. 5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; 6 they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; 7 they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. 8 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

18 We are relentlessly works-based You better watch out You better not cry You better not pout I'm telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town

19 We are relentlessly works-based He's making a list, Checking it twice; Gonna find out who's naughty or nice. Santa Claus is coming to town

20 We are relentlessly works-based He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good So be good for goodness sake

21 We are relentlessly works-based He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good So be good for goodness sake Majority believe that you get into heaven by being a good person…

22 We are relentlessly works-based He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good So be good for goodness sake Many view God as a cosmic ogre who is ready to smack us (patrolling endlessly, emotionless - other than maybe a bit angry, keeping a list of wrongs…)

23 We are relentlessly works-based He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good So be good for goodness sake Romans 3:20 -- no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

24 We are relentlessly works-based He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good So be good for goodness sake Ephesians 2: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

25 We are relentlessly works-based He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good So be good for goodness sake “Jesus wept”

26 We tend to view spiritual things as mythical (nice & nostalgic) Sending letters to Santa with a list of our wants  Like “sending up” prayers that often feel like they just “hit the ceiling” Santa resides in a distant North Pole home that nobody has ever seen  Like God dwelling in the strange and unseen land of heaven, seemingly disengaged from our real lives Santa does crazy, weird stuff that nobody really believes is possible  Like God hearing & answering prayer; managing all of creation, rising from the dead; returning again…

27 We have an insatiable desire for something/someone beyond us Ecclesiastes 3: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

28 Though we long for someone beyond us, we resist accountability 2 Tim. 4: For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

29 We are in love with stuff Luke 12: Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." 14 Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" 15 Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 16 And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' 18 "Then he said, 'This is what I'll

30 We are in love with stuff do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'" 20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' 21 "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

31 We have created a culture that is cynical of real heroes Santa is really the only cultural icon we have who's male, does not carry a gun, and is all about peace, joy, giving, and caring for other people. That's part of the magic for me, especially in a culture where we've become so commercialized and hooked into manufactured icons. Santa is much more organic, integral, connected to the past, and therefore connected to the future. —TV producer Jonathan Meath

32 We have created a culture that is cynical of real heroes 1 Cor. 11:1 -- Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

33 We are a people drawn to hype, not substance or truth or thinking Missing opportunities?  To help kids develop critical thinking (difference between Santa and God, why our culture would develop such a Santa creation, why their hearts are drawn to an ideal like Santa, etc.)  To help kids learn how to sensitively relate to others  To help kids zealously resist materialism

34 We have become a lonely & empty people Pay attention to dull emptiness that carries over from the world’s system of celebration…

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36 Ushers please come forward… A Chance to Give to the Cause


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