Christmas

Calvinism, Christmas and Theological Incompatibilities

I’m sure that most people who follow a Calvinistic based theological point of view have never thought about it, but Calvinism and Christmas (and by Christmas, I’m talking about the whole gifting-giving aspect of the holiday) are just theologically incompatible.

One, acting right is expected if we want to stay off the naughty list – no excuses. There goes Total Hereditary Depravity.

Two, asking for what we need/want is necessary to getting it. There goes Unconditional Election.

Three, buying gifts for complete strangers is a common deed that is done. There goes Limited Atonement.

Four, there are people who always willingly leave their gift sitting under the tree. There goes Irresistible Grace.

And five, gifts come with responsibilities – abuse them and you can lose them. There goes Perseverance Of The Saints.

Now, all analogies break down at some point (and by that I’m talking about gifts that people give compared to the gift of God’s salvation), but I hope you can see how the accepted simple concepts of man’s gift-giving reveals how unreasonable Calvinistic theology really is in relation to gifts from God.

Maybe this is why poinsettias are the flower of the season instead of TULIPs. EA

Brethren, I speak in the manner of men…” (Galatians 3:15)

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Don’t Break The Bank!

Ah, it’s that time of the year when we show people how much we love them…by spending money on them!

I miss you Thanksgiving.

Now I know when it comes to gifts, it’s supposed to be the thought that counts. But I also know that any gift, no matter how thoughtful or thoughtless it may be, costs money. So there’s no way around it when it comes to buying gifts for other people – we’re going to have to spend the green.

But there’s still the question of how much are we going to spend compared to how much do we have to spend?

Here’s where I would like to make a suggestion or two when it comes to avoiding overspending this holiday season:

  • don’t pay for Christmas in July
  • don’t let your eyes get bigger than your wallet
  • don’t worry about what the “Jones’” have under their tree
  • and buy a kid (or anyone else for that matter) a bank instead of breaking it for them.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe there’s a huge blessing in giving needed gifts (Acts 20:34-36). But I also believe the bank account shouldn’t be in red on December 26th because of what was spent for December 25th. EA

There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it.” (Proverbs 21:20)

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Last Minute Gifts…That Money Can’t Buy

I didn’t put the list together but it’s worth passing along; especially if you’re still shopping for someone on December 23rd!

1. Keep a promise.

2. Keep a secret.

3. Share a dream.

4. Send her favorite flower.

5. Let someone have the last word.

6. Return a smile.

7. Laugh at his story – again.

8. Let someone in line, in front of you.

9. Listen to a child.

10. Listen to an adult.

11. Say something nice to someone.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

P.S. – Don’t use this list to be a cheapskate!

Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost A Cent

I don’t know the author’s name who put these eight gifts together but it’s a great list, and it’s worth passing along.

The Gift of Listening…but you must really listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

The Gift of Affection…be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and hand-holds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

The Gift of Laughter…clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

The Gift of a Written Note…it can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

The Gift of a Compliment…a simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job,” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

The Gift of a Favor…everyday, go out of your way to do something kind.

The Gift of Solitude…there are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition…the easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. Really, it’s not that hard to say, “Hello,” or “Thank you.”

There’s nothing wrong with putting an emphasis on spending when it comes to gifts at this time of the year, as long as the emphasis isn’t on money.

Strive to out give others in a way that causes others to strive to give! EA

I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

(Acts 20:35)

“Apology” Letter

This was forwarded to me in an email. There are enough faux-trees out there for the season, so a faux-apology should fit right in. I thought it was hilarious, but I hope it doesn’t give anyone any ideas!

Hi Sweetheart,

I am sorry about getting into an argument about putting up the Christmas lights. I guess that sometimes I feel like you are pushing me too hard when you want something. I realize that I was wrong and I am apologizing for being such a hard-headed guy. All I want is for you to be happy and be able to enjoy the holiday season. Nothing brightens the Christmas spirit like Christmas lights! I took the time to hang the lights for you today; and now I will be off to the hockey rink.

Again, I am very sorry for the way I acted yesterday.  I’ll be home later.

Love you……

Her response –

Hi Honey,

Thank you for that heart-felt apology. I don’t often get an apology from you, and I truly appreciate it. I, too, felt bad about the argument and wanted to apologize. I realize that I can sometimes be a little pushy. I will try to respect your feelings from now on.Thank you for taking the time to hang the Christmas lights for me.  It really means a lot. In the spirit of giving, I washed your truck for you; and now I am off to the mall.

I love you too!

There’s nothing too funny about the notes, but what made me laugh was the pictures that described what those “sweet” words really meant:

  Truck under water

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

P.S. – Remember to show real love to your spouse! (Ephesians 5:22-33) EA

How Accurate is the average Manger Scene?

The following post is named “The Birth of Jesus was as Follows…” by a preacher named Steve Higginbotham and it comes from his blog PreachingHelp.org.

I usually write an article in Keltonburg’s bulletin similar to this one at this time of the year but this year I decided to let Steve’s do the talking this time. It is an excellent article that may surprise you. Despite the plea from so many in the “pro-Christmas” crowd there is a lot of biblical ignorance about the manger scene that is so popular in front yards, on mantles and on Christmas cards. Read and enjoy or read and learn or maybe do both of them :) .

“At this time of the year, more will be said about the birth of Jesus than at any other time of the year. Yet, each year I can’t help but be a bit disturbed by all the biblical ignorance and inaccuracies associated with the birth of our Savior. When it comes to one of the most fundamental tenants of Christianity, the incarnation of Jesus, and one of the most pivotal historical events that ever occurred, I find that many cannot discern between fact and fiction. As fundamental as the birth of Jesus is, people do not really know the account of his birth as well as one might think.

Doubt me? Then give the following “True/False” quiz a shot and see how well you do? (more…)