Do you remember the joys of anticipation in hanging up your stocking on Christmas Eve? Do you remember the thrill of discovery, waking on Christmas morning to find that a certain special someone had paid a visit the night before?
If you cherish fond memories of Santa Claus from childhood, Giftbringer will re-awaken those memories in a new way.
As a child, I loved Christmas. I loved everything that had to do with Christmas. The entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Yearís was a special time for me and for my family. The highlight of it all was Christmas Eve, and the expected arrival of Santa Claus. Beyond the gifts, which of course I loved, I relished the personality of this individual whose entire existence revolved around bringing joy to children all over the world. I loved Santa Claus. He was as real to me as my own parents.
Theologians say that an early childhood belief in Santa Claus can be foundational to a later belief in God. Certainly many of the more difficult concepts associated with believing in a higher power are much more readily understandable when one has already believed with all oneís heart in the beloved gift-giver. It is a short step from believing in the gift-giver of Christmas to believing in the ultimate gift-giver, God, and the ultimate gift of His son Jesus Christ, the savior of mankind....
....... but the truth is that Giftbringer is largely invention, loosely based on the existing legends of St. Nicholas. Still, the story contains many fundamental truths about the human condition.
For pastors, this study will provide lessons in generosity and giving to share with their congregations. For church members, it will offer a chance to examine their own lives and decisions, and to help them to evaluate and prioritize, to determine the things that are of lasting value. For teenagers, it will provide a role model of a young man who followed Godís calling, even though it cost him dearly. Giftbringer truly has something to offer everyone.
Frederick Wiegand How to Use this Guide
This study guide is designed to be used in connection with a Bible study. It can be utilized on an individual or group basis. Each section will explore the main themes of the chapter and will contain parallel references to Bible verses, along with discussion questions and personal application questions.
For Bible study groups, this guide can accompany a study of Giftbringer in relation to the Bible. Answers to the discussion questions may be written out by the individual members in advance of the study session and then shared with the group, or they may be used as the basis for impromptu discussion at the group meeting.
For individual study, a reading of Giftbringer may be used to enhance oneís personal understanding of the Bible or of Biblical concepts.
For pastors, this guide can be used as a tool in leading a small group discussion, or it may be used as the basis for sermons relating to the areas of giving, self-sacrifice, or Christmas traditions.
The study has broken the novel into sections, covering the main episodes of the story. Each section begins with summary of the chapter or chapters. This is followed by a listing of the major themes of the episode, and some Biblical references relating to each theme. After this, the discussion questions and personal application questions are presented. Each section concludes with a suggested activity as well as preparation notes for the study of the next set of chapters.
Bible Study Table of Contents
Section #1. The Prologue: A Childless Couple ......................................... Page 4 Section #2, Chapters 1-5: Nicolas is Envious ........................................... Page 7 Section #3, Chapters 6-8: Calamity for Nicolas ...................................... Page 10 Section #4, Chapters 9-11: Nicolas Assumes Responsibility..................... Page 13 Section #5. Chapters 12-18, plus the Epilogue: Nicolas the Giftbringer ...... Page 16