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Naughty or Nice?

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Dr. Suess first released the original The Grinch Who Stole Christmas in 1957. The man behind Dr. Suess is actually Theodor Seuss Geisel. The concept of a Christmas Naughty and Nice list was implied by Dr. Suess with the Grinch as the poster child for the naughty. Seven years later Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer introduced Santa’s Naughty and Nice List. Meanwhile, the 1973 Christmas classic The Year Without a Santa Claus reenergized Santa’s calling to travel the world on Christmas Eve to reward good children.

But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every [s]idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. 37 For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced, Matthew 12:36-37.

As I’m about the finish my study of the Book of Revelation, I was reminded of the Bible’s own Naughty and Nice List. In the first century, Jesus pointed to the Book of Life while teaching about Judgment Day. Anyone who has made their reservations in advance, Romans 10:9-11 and 1 John 5:12-13, will be acquitted on Judgment Day. The apostle Paul explains this in Galatians 2:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:53-58. Subsequently, anyone who has entered into a personal relationship with Jesus makes the Nice List.

And the sea delivered up the dead who were in it, death and Hades ([c]the state of death or disembodied existence) surrendered the dead in them, and all were tried and their cases determined by what they had done [according to their motives, aims, and works], Revelation 20:13.

The apostle Paul writes about those individuals who pass away without ever being introduced to Jesus in Romans 1:18-20. According to the disciple whom Jesus loved, these people will be judged based upon their aims, motives and works. The great commission is currently in its third and final stage, Acts 1:8, taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. God’s Naughty and Nice List is finalized based upon these three categories. If you’re unsure if your name is in The Book of Life, there’s still time to join the nice list, Hebrews 10:26-27.

by Jay Mankus

Developing An Attitude of Gratitude

As Christmas Day draws near yet again, it appears the Grinch Who Stole Christmas isn’t just a Dr. Suess classic.  Rather, a lack of thanksgiving is turning hearts once full of joy into Ebenezer Scrooge.  While 24 hours of Christmas music attempts to put people into the Christmas spirit, demons whispering Bah Humbug are drowning out carolers in the streets.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,  Ephesians 5:17-18.

I’m not sure the initial reason, but a song writer felt called to create a piece entitled the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Perhaps, modern times need a composition to prepare souls to celebrate the birth of Emmanuel, God with us.  If Thanksgiving Day is used properly, this celebration could kick start the 12 Days of Thanksgiving, enabling a spirit of thanks to be transformed into an attitude of gratitude.

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 5:19-20.

The apostle Paul provides a blue print for this evolution in a letter to the church at Ephesus.  The ungrateful tend to drown their sorrows in alcohol.  Meanwhile, the expense of gift giving can steal your joy for this special season.  To avoid this common fate, turn bitterness into praise by humming Christmas classics.  As this is practiced daily, perspectives slowly change from self-gratification toward a heart of service.  If you want to change for the better, start keeping a journal of reasons to be thankful.  When healthy practices become a habit, an attitude of gratitude will be established.

by Jay Mankus

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