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Jimmy Stewart in the movie Shanendoah plays a farmer who has a bunch of sons. The Boys are of fighting age and the father will not let them go off to fight. The family gets the reputation of sitting out the war. There is a scene where they are all around the dinner table and they bow their heads for prayer. Jimmy Stewart says “Lord we planted this seed, we watered the plants, we picked the food and we cooked it, we did it all ourselves, we worked dog bone hard for this but we thank you just the same amen”
People who give sacrificially know that they worked hard for what they take home, but they also know that God blessed them and provided for them.
Illustration from “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”
Chapter 7, Mr. Beaver tells the children, “they say that Aslan is on the move – perhaps has already landed.”
“And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do: but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. . . .”
“. . . At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”
Now I want you to see another short video clip which also does a good job of comparing Christmas Present with Christmas Past.
Play video “what is missing” – from the DVD “Focus on the Holidays” by Group
HOW ROBINSON CRUSOE GIVES THANKS
The apostle Paul didn’t say to give thanks “for” all circumstances, but “in” all circumstances. All our circumstances in life are not good, but there will always be something in those circumstances for which to give thanks.
When Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked on a lonely island he thought of both the good and the bad.
- He was cast onto a desolate island, but he was still alive, not drowned as all of his ship’s company was.
- He was divided from mankind, but he was not starving.
- He had no clothes, but he was in a hot climate where he didn’t need them.
- He was without means of defense, but he saw no wild animals.
- He had nothing to speak of, but God had sent the ship so near to the shore that he could get out of...
HEATHERS AND GRATITUDE
Some people think being thankful all the time is like going around with a goofy smile on your face all of the time and being insensitive to other people’s feelings. Some think it means to always be happy. We can be grateful, thankful, without being irrationally "happy" in bad times.
In the teen-age film where Winona Ryder came to prominence ("Heathers"), her character says, "If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn’t be a human being; you’d be a game show host."
Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that thanksgiving is intended to be a lifestyle rather than a mere holiday or something we do on Sunday.
WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY?
Some of you are familiar with the name, Morgan Spurlock. He produced the documentary "Super-Size Me." He has produced another lesser-known production titled "What Would Jesus Buy?" Please note: I am not recommending the movie it is a bit distasteful but it makes a good point. The movie follows a fictional minister named "Reverend Billy" and the "The Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir."
He is travelling the nation warning the masses of a pending "Shopocalypse." He was arrested in Times Square for preaching a two-word sermon "Stop Shopping!!!!" Starbucks has a permanent restraining order issued against him.
The review of this movie says this: "Religion aside for a moment, there's a terrible addiction that has swept across this country, and it's one of the nation's best kept secrets. Mostly everyone will tell you that it's a really bad thing, but nobody can seem to stop doing it. And it doesn't come cheap, nearly sixty percent of us are in long term debt because of it. No, we're not talking booze, drugs or overeating. It's shopping. And over 15 million Americans may in fact be addicted to it."
Spurlocks' intention is to inspire real reflection when it comes to exactly what this consumerized holiday season is all about. Reverend Billy and entourage put out a wakeup call to mall junkies everywhere, exorcising the demons from assorted cash registers and credit cards as he urges consumers to return to a more authentic relationship with Christmas.
If you want joy in your Christmas I'd recommend you heed the sermon of Reverend Billy and seek "a more authentic Christmas." I recommend you look to the only One who can bring joy to your world.
Maybe we could start my filtering our Christmas through Jesus' two core values and making them our core values.
Mark 12:29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Charlie Browns Christmas--The clip is when Linus and Charlie brown are standing by the cement wall and Charlie Brown talks about how Christmas causes him to be depressed and how he doesn’t look forward to it. The draw is that not everyone looks forward to Christmas and the holidays. When the world preaches that Christmas is family, not everyone has a family. When Walmart advertises it is important to be home for the holidays, not everyone has a home to go to. Many have lost a spouse, friend, child, been through a crisis, divorce, or whatever that does not bring feelings of joy and anticipation at this time of the year. This clip introduces a humorous and family friendly tie to this point. Approximately 1 minuite long.
Poor Little Orphan Annie! It’s "a hard-knock life" for her and her friends. All the hard chores, the abuse, and the neglect only add insult to injury to these poor little girls already carrying the weight of abandonment.
But if you’ve seen the musical "Annie," either on stage or screen, you know there is a happy ending for the cute, little, misunderstood, red-haired orphan girl. After being invited to spend the Christmas holiday with Billionaire Oliver Warbucks, and after a few shenanigans from her caregiver at the orphanage, Annie learns that her parents are dead and that Mr. Warbucks would like to adopt her. The brightness in Annie’s eyes and the bounce in her step change dramatically when she learns she will be adopted. Why? Because she not only will leave behind the hard-knock life of the orphanage, she will also live in incredible wealth, and, most importantly, live with someone who has chosen her to be his. She celebrates the promise of Mr. Warbucks singing "I Don’t Need Anything But You."
Annie: "Yesterday was plain awful"
Warbucks: "You can say that again"
Annie: "Yesterday was plain awful"
Both: "But that’s not now, that’s then"
Annie realizes that she’s living on another level.
God wants you to live on another level. He’s well aware that some of our yesterdays are just plain awful. We may not face the tyranny of a Miss Hannigan, but we have our moments where life is a bit hard-knock…
Sickness brings pain and death brings grief.
The ruthless acts of a few terrorists bring us fear.
One thug’s crime is o...
In this year’s hot holiday film, "The Santa Clause 2," there is a line that made me sit up and take notice. Charley, Santa’s son, says to a cynical principal who later in the story becomes Mrs. Claus, something to the...