“You Made Me Happy, Mom”: Christmas 2012

Just call her "Katniss"

I take Christmas gifts for my children very seriously, keeping a running list on my iPhone of gift ideas (some of their choosing, some my own brainstorm) and then sitting down in November to chart exactly what each child will receive, factoring in fairness and wants and needs and budget. I aim for each child [Read More...]

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (Including Me)


According to the Mayans, the world was supposed to end on Friday. It didn’t. But it sure feels like a bit like the end of the world as we know it, doesn’t it? The afternoon of December 14, some friends and I remarked that it felt an awful lot like 9/11. We had that same [Read More...]

Preparing a Way for God to Enter Our Busy Advent World

My Advent posts this year have centered on a single theme—that honoring Advent does not require us to retreat from busy Christmas preparation, that our thing- and task-focused preparations might even be particularly appropriate for a God who came to us as an actual needy baby born in a stinky stable. Because I am fully [Read More...]

Can the Christmas Rush Be Meaningful?

I have a post up over at Relevant Magazine today, contemplating Advent, Christmas preparation, busyness, and meaning. It is another take on the themes I raised in Tuesday’s post. I hope you’ll give it a read and participate in the conversation! [Read more...]

Busy Hands, Quiet Heart: Thoughts On Advent

Confession: Every time I come across advice from a fellow Christian urging us to slow down during Advent, I am tempted to do an exaggerated, teenager-ly eye roll. Sometimes I actually do the eye roll. And throw in a heavy sigh for dramatic effect. To me, admonitions to shun holiday season busy-ness in favor of [Read More...]

What the Real St. Nicholas Teaches Us About Gift Giving


When I picked up Adam C. English’s new book, The Saint Who Would be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra, I hoped for insights into how a fourth century bishop in what is now Turkey became our generous, child-loving symbol of Christmas giving. To an extent, I was disappointed. St. [Read More...]

A Proposal for a Longer Christmas Season…In the OTHER Direction


In addition to the oft-bemoaned retail practice of filling shelves with Christmas goods as soon as Halloween is over, I have noticed that regular folk are putting their Christmas decorations up earlier and earlier—before Thanksgiving in some cases. And this bothers me. Not only because it overshadows our celebration of Thanksgiving, which is such a [Read More...]

Learning to Love the Christmas Pageant

It’s nearly here—Christmas Eve. Dozens of cookies are stacked on my back porch, most of the gifts are wrapped and in their basement hiding place ready to be piled under the tree, the house is clean…enough. Tomorrow night, we’ll begin our celebrations with our church’s Christmas pageant, in which my oldest daughter will be an [Read More...]