12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

Today I’ll be continuing the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge by ScaleSimple.

You can find Day 1 HERE, and Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE, Day 5 HERE, Day 6 HERE, Day 7 HERE, Day 8 HERE, and Day 9 HERE.

DAY 10. Favourite Christmas movie or song?

I’ve been waiting for this question. At odd times throughout the year a Christmas song will pop into my head, but it feels different when it’s closing in on December.

MOVIE – 
My favourite Christmas movie would probably have to be Die Hard (1988). I know it’s not Christmas-themed, but it is set at a Christmas party and they do have some Christmas music playing.
TV SHOW – 
I also like to rewatch Christmas episodes of TV shows. There are a few from The Middle (2009-), there’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Amends, and any others that pop on the TV.
SONG – 
Choosing my favourite Christmas song is definitely harder. When I was little, my brother, sister, and I used to listen to Christmas carols as we went to sleep. Only this year did I buy a whole bunch of songs off iTunes and really listened to them again.
A few weeks ago I also found a cool band called Pentatonix. They are an American a cappella group that had uploaded some Christmas songs to YouTube.
Two of them made me fall in love with the season all over again.
First we have ‘Little Drummer Boy’:
And here’s ‘Mary, Did You Know’:
What is your favourite Christmas movie or song? Let me know below, or start your own 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge.

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Picture by ScaleSimple

I nominate: This week’s new followers on Instagram.

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12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

Today I’ll be continuing the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge by ScaleSimple.

You can find Day 1 HERE, and Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE, Day 5 HERE, Day 6 HERE, Day 7 HERE, and Day 8 HERE.

DAY 9. Who will be sitting with you for Christmas dinner?

In my family, our get-together time is at lunch. With my sister and her fiancee getting married next year, I don’t know how long before little kids are added and they are spending holidays away, so I am thankful they will be coming.

My grandma – 93 years old – is having lunch with us, and is always a hilarious companion.
My mum, of course, and my brother has postponed his overseas trip so he can spend Christmas with us.

That’s pretty much it.

Who will be sitting with you for Christmas dinner this year? Let me know below, or start your own 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge.

christmas4.jpg

Picture by ScaleSimple

I nominate: This week’s new followers on Instagram.

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

Today I’ll be continuing the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge by ScaleSimple.

You can find Day 1 HERE, and Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE, Day 5 HERE, Day 6 HERE, and Day 7 HERE.

DAY 8. Share a local Christmas tradition in your town or country

As far as I know, there aren’t any real differences to how our local community celebrates Christmas. Unfortunately, while a lot of people celebrate it, they don’t seem to acknowledge the true meaning of the day.
In the preceding weeks, there are numerous big-scale Christmas carol events, with Australian singers belting out the tunes (that too becoming less about Jesus and more about Santa and snow).
There are also tours to decorated houses. Some families spend thousands of dollars on Christmas lights and decorations, putting their name in to let people know to come by and take some photos. My family went out looking at them when I was younger, but year after year we were faced with calamities (getting lost, flat tyre, car breaking down, sister getting her hand shut and locked in the car door so spending hours at the emergency room – all of these on different years), so we stopped.
Hopefully more people will let Jesus into their lives and we can have a big Jesus-centred tradition nearby.
What are the local Christmas traditions in your town or country? Let me know below, or start your own 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge.

christmas4.jpg

Picture by ScaleSimple

I nominate: This week’s new followers on Instagram.

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

Today I’ll be continuing the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge by ScaleSimple.

You can find Day 1 HERE, and Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE, and Day 5 HERE.

DAY 6. Share a fond Christmas memory

There is one story I just have to tell here. While it may sound like a funny little story from my early childhood, it is much to my embarrassment to say that I was indeed older than I should have been. I was probably around 10 years old when it happened.
Although we don’t have a big family, we have an even smaller house, so every Christmas we have lunch out. This year, we were at Sizzler (a buffet restaurant). It was a great atmosphere, with everyone chatting and laughing and gorging themselves on an assortment of delicious foods. Then came the time when someone dropped by. You all know his name: Santa.
I don’t know what about Santa always terrified me (only just getting over it now), but the second I saw him coming, I jumped under the table. Everyone at the table laughed. Thankfully it was a crowded restaurant so no one else saw, but my family make sure to tell everyone, and continue to make fun of me everytime Santa is near.
What about you? What is your fond children Christmas memory? Let me know below, or start your own 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge.

christmas4.jpg

Picture by ScaleSimple

I nominate: RealMarkLandry, Jay, and EatLiveEscape.

Heaven Is For Real (2014) – Review

As seen on CinemaParadiso.


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There was a time when religious movies ran abound. When Heaven was not a fairy-tale and the harsh world knew that peace was attainable. Then came the time when in order to talk about Jesus and Heaven, films needed to first focus on the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Thank the Lord that time has passed. The resurgence of Christian films brings a smile to my face and so does Heaven is for Real.

Colton Burpo is three years old when his stomach flu suddenly turns into appendicitis. His parents rush him to the hospital, and are given the heartbreaking news that complications gave their son little-to-no chance of survival. The parents pray, a miracle occurs, and Colton recovers. Four months later, he begins speaking of things and people he could not possibly know. He reveals the moments of his near death experience, and describes Heaven and seeing Jesus. His father, a Pastor at the local church, wants to believe his son, but finds the growing pressure from the community and arriving horde of media almost too much to process. Did Colton truly visit Heaven? Watch this movie and decide for yourself.

Rarely will you find a book that translates well into a film, but this film actually does. Firstly, the cast are amazing, with Greg Kinnear excellently playing the struggling father, and the adorable newcomer Connor Corum. Secondly, we all know it might not be factually correct. We don’t know what the afterlife will look like, and it has also been noted that there was no evidence reported that Colton was clinically dead during his surgery. However, it’s the point of the film, to bring about hope and individual religious discovery. The same could be said for Field of Dreams (1989). Nowhere in the Bible does it say that deceased baseball players will attend your field if you build one, but it was about hearing God and having the faith and trust in him to follow his commands, regardless of your temporary understanding.

In terms of the technical aspects, Heaven is for Real is creatively beautiful. The scenery is breathtaking, with the wide shots of the open farmland expanse and the bright colours of nature popping with intensity. The unique camera angles and visual effects work seamlessly, complementing the story.

Of course, a film like this will still have those that attack it for its religious message. Many reviews have commended the film for both its script and cast, while criticising it for how ‘preachy’ it was.

Whether you are a religious person or not, this movie is a must-see. It does not matter if what Colton – in real life – experienced was a true afterlife, but what his testimony stands for. It is a beautiful and heart-warming story that does not revolve around car chases or vampires, and has the ability to get important conversations started. With the recent line of Christian movies hitting the cinemas, now is a good time to gather the family and enjoy the flicks!

3 out of 5 stars

God’s Not Dead (2014) – Review

As seen on CinemaParadiso.


 

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The experienced Kevin Sorbo and newcomer Shane Harper face off in the most recent Christian-based film to hit the big screen, arguing the controversial question: Is God Dead? The film is a perfect mix of logic and emotion, that anyone and everyone will love.

The recent influx of Christian-based films and mini-series’ is a wonderful thing. Watching them not only gets people talking, but also shows how God’s thousand-year-old promises are still accessible to us today.

Josh Wheaton (Harper) does not know what he is in for when he signs up to the college philosophy course, run by Professor Radisson (Sorbo). The students are all offered an easy passing grade, if they simply write: ‘God is Dead’. Wheaton, a Christian, refuses. Radisson offers an opportunity for him to pass: prove God is not dead. Wheaton accepts, but struggles to find the right words. He knows God sent him there for this very reason. He cannot fail.

Sometimes it is hard to describe exactly why you love a movie, but others times, everything just works.

There are not many familiar faces in the cast, but I am sure we will be seeing many of them in leading roles in the future. Kevin Sorbo is not as we have seen him before. He is not a Greek hero. He does not show-off his rippling muscles. Instead, he plays the role of the antagonist perfectly, not only portraying a human obstacle the hero must overcome, but also allowing his own character to come to life. Shane Harper brilliantly takes on the pressure-filled leading role. Coming from a mainly dancing background, it is amazing to see the depth of acting-emotion he has – though he still has room for improvement. Special guest stars such as Willie and Korie Robertson, from Duck Dynasty also bring a more light-hearted feel to the film.

Christian music has been growing in popularity over the years, and the Christian pop-rock band Newsboys – whose songs feature in the film – are sure to gain more fans with their inspiring music.

Overall, the film gives a very important lesson to learn. Colleges and universities all over the world claim to want open-mindedness, but criticise and taunt when a Christian walks in. There are legitimate arguments proving God’s existence, and so-called intellectuals need to hear it. Films like these get people talking about Christianity and doing the research for themselves.

As can be expected, most online reviews are very unfavourable. Criticisms range from its general faith-based story, to how preachy it was, and even the camera techniques. Despite this, audiences are quickly filling the seats and proclaiming their approval.

Not everything in this film is perfect – such as their stand on evolution and the big bang theory – so it’s important to watch the film, but then go out and read the Bible. This film was shot in a total of twenty days and has already gained over thirty-times its production budget. There is a definite market for Christian-based films and it seems, for the meantime at least, they are here to stay.

4 out of 5 stars