In the Western tradition, Advent is a season of anticipation and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth and for his awaited return. Although liturgical scholars sometimes argue the point, Advent is commonly associated with purple as a penitential season. It is the ideal time for people and communities of faith to ponder how often we have denied Christ through our actions.
The church has the chance to return to the Sunday School Movement to uncover its passion and power to challenge culture and change lives. Returning to the roots of Sunday school compels us to boldness in trying new ways of sharing the gospel, in actions as much as—or even more than—in words.
Traditional efforts to literally scare the hell out of people can and have caused significant damage, especially to children.
As a Christian educator, I am frequently asked by churches about the best techniques for turning children into Christian believers. As the national director of discipleship ministries at the Home Mission Societies, I am asked to help cast a vision for faith formation across the human lifespan. I maintain that much of our task in discipleship formation is repentance and remediation.
The Santa myth is frequently used as a parenting tool that plays into the unfortunate reward/punishment approach to parenting. Weeks leading up to the holiday are often filled with threats of “I’ll tell Santa!” or “Don’t forget who is watching you!” These tactics, reinforced by the Santa lore, potentially lay the foundation for a problematic understanding of God