St. Nick, Jesus, or Both?

mti2nzy0mzizmzu4otm4mzg2Merry Christmas Week!

Over the years, I’ve noticed that my Christian friends have a variety of practices and opinions on the concept of Santa Claus. After a recent discussion about this with my wife and her parents about the role Santa played in her childhood versus mine, I’ve decided to dig a little deeper into the matter.

Why is Santa considered a controversial topic? Is it because Santa isn’t in the Bible? Is it because it is too pagan? Does the idea/practice of having Santa involved in Christmas deceive kids?

Where does Santa come from? Most people agree he is based on St. Nicholas. According to Biography.com , he was born in Patara, a land that is part of present-day Turkey, circa 280. St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who helped the needy. After his death, the legend of his gift-giving grew. St. Nicholas transformed into the legendary character called Santa Claus, who brings Christmas presents to children around the world. Check out the link for more information.

Isn’t helping the less fortunate one of the main parts of being a Christian? Jesus commanded us to love one another, and to love our neighbor. Isn’t that what Saint Nicholas did?

If you include Santa in Christmas, why not teach kids that being good doesn’t get you presents, but giving them is the bigger picture?

My wife came across the following the other day that is a way to incorporate Santa and not deceive your kids. Here is a great way to transition your kids from receiving from Santa, to becoming their own Santa.

When they are about 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready. Take them out “for coffee” at the local wherever. Get a booth, order your drink and make the following statement:

“You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown too.” Then list several empathetic behaviors, consideration of people’s feelings, good deeds etc.

“In fact, your heat has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus. You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren’t ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE.”

Ask them the best things about Santa. Then continue with:

“Well now YOU are ready to do your first job as a Santa!”

Come up with a neighbor, or a friend to do a secret mission for. Find out deviously what that person needs and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it and never revel to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit. It’s about unselfish giving.

That is what Christmas should be like regardless. Be like Jesus, whether that is  with or without Santa.

Until Next Time Readers,

God Bless!

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New Year’s Resolutions (A Look Back..)

Good evening everyone! Happy New Year! Welcome to 2011! I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve and Day.

Tonight I wanted to take the time to look back on my resolutions from 2010, and see which ones I kept, and which ones I didn’t. I also wanted to make some for 2011. The 2010 resolutions we posted around the last week of Dec. 2009. Check the original posts out if you want.

Resolution 1: Loose Weight– (FAIL)

Well that didn’t work. I gained probably another 20 pounds last year. I guess that is what married life does to you. I don’t know. So.. I am putting this one back on the list for 2011. I actually went to the gym tonight. We will see what happens.

Resolution 2: Get Connected on a Deeper Level– (Semi-Fail)

Well I have met some more people, and I have actually connected with some on a deeper level. I started playing softball, and naturally as a team you create that bond. I want to grow closer to these guys, and well other people from church, or even work. I will put this back on the list for 2011 as well.

Resolution 3: Serve God More (Semi-Fail)

I actually was a member of the camera team at North Church for a little bit. I also helped out at a soup kitchen, and helped give out winter items to the homeless. I am not trying to pat myself on the back at all. I give God all the glory on that. I do though am going to put this on the list again. Me and my wife are looking to serve together at the church this year.

Resolution 4: Give to Charity ( Semi- Fail)

When the earthquake hit Haiti, I donated money to two different charities. I haven’t donated since then. I have however given money to people in need that I know locally. Again, I am not trying to pat myself on the back. I am putting this on the list again for this year. I want to contribute more

Resolution 5: Become a Better Husband ( Semi-Fail)

Over the last year, I have worked at doing this. I have attended a class, read books, etc. I am putting this one on the list again. I guess there is always need for improvement, due to us not being perfect.

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Those are my resolutions for 2010/2011, but I wanted to add one as well.

Resolution 6: Blog More

I started this blog as a ministry to myself and to other people. I started off writing practically everyday. Life gets in the way sometimes, and I stopped doing that, or even blogging once a week at the most. Well, I want to bring up my game. I have several people who read this blog, and makes me feel good. I like doing this. So yeah.. Look for more to come.

So what are your resolutions this year?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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Movie Saturday — Please Give

Good morning readers! Another Movie Saturday is taking place today! I was looking through Apple’s Trailers and found this hilarious looking movie called Please Give. Below is information about the movie.

Kate (Catherine Keener) has a lot on her mind. There’s the ethics problem of buying furniture on the cheap at estate sales and marking it up at her trendy Manhattan store (and how much markup can she get away with?). There’s the materialism problem of not wanting her teenage daughter (Sarah Steele) to want the expensive things that Kate wants. There’s the marriage problem of sharing a partnership in parenting, business, and life with her husband Alex (Oliver Platt) but sensing doubt nibbling at the foundations. And there’s Kate’s free—floating 21st century malaise—the problem of how to live well and be a good person when poverty, homelessness, and sadness are always right outside the door. Plus, there’s the neighbors: cranky, elderly Andra (Ann Guilbert) and the two granddaughters who look after her (Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet). As Kate, Alex, and Abby interact with the people next door, with each other, and with their New York surroundings, a complex mix of animosity, friendship, deception, guilt, and love plays out with both sharp humor and pathos. PLEASE GIVE is writer/director Nicole Holofcener’s perceptive—and devastatingly funny—take on modern life’s contradictions, good intentions and shaky moral bearings.

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What I wanted to say today is a little bit more serious than this movie. I like the title, Please Give. As Christians, we are supposed to help our fellow-man in times of trouble and even in times of happiness. We are supposed to tithe at least 10% of our income.

My wife and I started tithing and have been blessed so much, but one area we really have trouble with is giving to the needy. Everyday we see “homeless” people panhandling on the corner. I put homeless in quotations because that is the part I have a problem with. Some, and the majority of the people out there are in fact homeless, and the others do it as a full-time job (panhandling). I have seen news stories on how a panhandler can make close to $60,000 a year, and not even pay taxes on that income.

I guess I need to give more regardless. I don’t know what is being done with money I give. I shouldn’t worry about it. I should be content with the thought of helping somebody else out.

Does anyone else deal with the same issue?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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Music Monday — We Are The World 25 for Haiti

Morning Readers! Today is Music Monday! Today I wanted to share with you the “We Are The World 25 for Haiti” song. Twenty-five years ago, “We Are The World” was recorded to help out Africa. To watch the original video and song, click here. With the earthquake in Haiti, celebrities and musicians set up a re-recording of this song for the 25th Anniversary. The new recording was recorded on Feb. 1, 2010 in the same studios as the original. Below is the new recording and video. Enjoy and continue to pray for and support Haiti. Check out http://wearetheworldfoundation.org/ for more information as well.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

*In no way am I or this blog paid to share this with you.

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Resolutions (#4)

With the remaining five days of 2009, I wanted to share with you five resolutions for 2010 that I am going to try really hard to follow.

Resolution (#4)

Throughout the last couple years several events have happened in my life that have sparked interest in things that I have never had interest in before. One of those interests include the different charities and causes that are out there, both here in the USA and internationally.

Last year I participated in an event called the Project 4 Awesome. Basically it is a two day event that promotes different charities through YouTube videos. Anyone can make a video that promotes their favorite charity, and then people rate and comment on those videos to get them to appear on the front page of YouTube. Last year I made a video for the World Wildlife Fund. Even though I like what they do, I really didn’t donate anything monetarily to their cause.

Well, in 2010, I want to start donating monthly to a charity that really means something to me. I either want to donate to the American Lung Association or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I just don’t know which one yet. I will let you all know when and which one I chose to donate to.

The American Lung Association is near and dear to me because of first hand experience with lung problems. I have had asthma since I was born. My mother has asthma as well, and my dad has emphysema.

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital is near and dear to me because I really have compassion for what they are doing to help fund cancer research. They accept patients regardless of the family ability to pay.

Do any of you donate to a charity? If so, which one and why?

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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