Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: 2 Chronicles 33:1-25; Habakkuk 1:2-4; 2 Kings 22; Philippians 2:3-8; 2 Kings 23:1-28; 1 Corinthians 5:7
Some things are just wrong. “He's locked up in his castle,” complained Elsa Anzideo, a New Jersey mother of two daughters. Like several other parents, she was upset that the Cherry Hill Mall Santa was cloistered away in “his castle”—otherwise known as “The Adventure to Santa.” Once inside the imposing Christmas display, parents can get a photo of their child on Santa’s lap, or even a video with the jolly old elf. The catch? In order to enter the mall’s Adventure to Santa holiday display, visitors must choose photo packages that range in price from $35 to $50. There is no sitting on Santa’s lap without first paying the entrance fee.
The elaborate North Pole headquarters built in a large atrium in the center of the mall features bright, cheery digital panels for walls—but no windows. Children can’t even steal a peek at the legendary elf. Complaints about the price ballooned on Facebook. A comment last Friday lambasting the mall drew 56 responses. Many of them agreed that the expense, which would exclude children from poorer families, seems counter to the holiday spirit.
Cherry Hill Mall management probably thought it was a good (“profitable”) idea to begin charging for a Christmas tradition that used to be free. It is possible, however, to right some wrongs. Cherry Hill Mall management made this statement Monday: “In the spirit of the holiday season, we want to keep things festive and bright. We have heard and value our loyal customers’ feedback and as a result, have decided to remove the photo package purchase requirements.”1 The “good idea” wasn’t so good after all.
It probably seemed like a good idea at the time to establish twelve-year-old Manasseh as king of Judah. After all, his father was good king Hezekiah. We all know how that turned out—he reestablished idol worship in Jerusalem. Even the best parents at times raise troublemakers. In just a few short years, Manasseh undid all of the good his father had done in Judah. Even though Manasseh later repented, his son Amon didn’t get that message and continued to lead Judah down the wrong path.
As we see in this week’s lesson, young King Josiah defied the trends of his own father Amon and grandfather Manasseh and made right their wrongs. Josiah, through the study and application of Scripture, became his own man. By standing for what was right, he turned Judah from the path of destruction back toward the road to greatness and prosperity. Josiah’s leadership shows us that wrongs can be made right; that no one is so corrupt that he or she is beyond God’s mercy and power to change.
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