Our family doesn't do gifts at Christmas. Some day I'll write about this excellent idea we've stolen called "GOTYA days" which allow us to celebrate our loved ones while freeing Christmas (somewhat) from the tyranny of things.
However, we do purchase some gifts for extended family. Since we love to give gifts that have, if possible, some eternal value, we often end up shopping in Christian bookstores. This year in particular, that has been deeply depressing.
What do you find in these stores? Second-rate, sentimentalist pseudo-Christian fiction, bracelets filled with uninterpretable acroyms (WWJD, FROG), jewelled fishies and crosses with real mustard seeds embedded in them, rewarmed worldly hip-hop PRAZES FOR JEEZUS FREEKS albums and the latest variation PURPOSE-DRIVEN(TM) DRIVEL(TM).
I guess I'm grumpy today. But let me share with you some of the "treasures" I found at the Treasure House in Barrie, but which could be found in most Christian book stores. Text in italics are taken from the advertising copy of the store.
Instructing your children:
Bob, Larry, and the whole VeggieTales team show you how to build a powerful relationship with God.
I used to like VeggieTales. Our kids used to watch them, until they were about 3 or 4 years old. We stopped following Bob and Larry after that dreadful version of Jonah's story. But as a family devotional? Never! Want to train your children to know God? Use this wonderful, child-friendly catechism instead!
Now you can read and comprehend every word of the Bible in 24 hours! Includes a 4-step speed-reading technique at a seventh grade reading level.
Speed-reading the Bible? Comprehend every word? So, do you speed read the love letters your spouse sends you? Do you speed read the old letters written by departed loved ones? No. You bathe in them, meditate on them, mull them over, celebrate them. Why would we treat God's letter as less worthy of our attention and effort?
Find the Bible too complex? We have an answer for that too!
God's Word was meant to be read -- and understood. It was first written in the language of the people, and this Bible gets back to that.
Another confession: I liked "The Message." I enjoyed it as an extreme paraphrase, but one with some insightful commentary. But I never considered it to be Scripture! These recent printings have verse references added and come in large leather editions. I can only assume the idea is that some people use The Message as their regular Bibles, which is frightening.
Sigh. Also in the store were two or four bookcases labelled "self-help," though we as Christians should be most aware of the sheer folly of trying to help ourselves. The "prophecy" shelf had a lovely sampling of the most extreme madness offered to the Christian church, including lovely tomes by Prophets Joyner and Price.
Oh, and don't miss the anniversary of Wilkinson's Prayer of Jabez. After all, you don't want to miss a chance to "release God's favour, power and protection."
Ok, enough grumping. There are many wonderful books out there that glorify God, humble man and edify the saints. All for the cost of a little digging.
May God bless your Christmas with much of himself!