To Welcome in the Stranger

Oh, the lovely and wonderful things that they don't play on the radio. In the endless loop of holly jolly reindeer rock--and Celine Dion, of course--we miss out on alot of really beautiful and even prophetic music.James Taylor's "Who Comes This Night" has become a seasonal fave of mine, and i've never once heard it on the radio. Probably because it has little to do with creating a warm, fuzzy, insular Christmas feeling for ones own, and everything to do with welcoming the stranger and … [Read more...]

Week 4: Welcome

It was dark. Rainy. Cold. I'd been in the car for about 12 hours. Alone. Intermittent radio signal through the West Virginia Mountains, nothing but wheezing preachers and country (not the good kind) for much of Virginia, over an HOUR sitting still on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge because i lacked the foresight to plan around rush hour. Now I was within a mile of my friend's house, i just knew that i had to be--but i'd been in circles for about 20 minutes, unable to read road signs through the dark … [Read more...]

Ready: Week 3, Day 3

I took a self-care day today. That means, took the kids to a baby sitter, got a massage, got my hair done, had lunch, did some light shopping, generally piddled about. In the course of this day, i encountered stylists, receptionists, check-out personnel, waitresses...you know the scene. So let's say in the course of this day, no less than 5 people asked me if i was ready for the holidays. The drill is supposed to go something like this: "Are you ready for the holidays?" "Are you kidding me?? I … [Read more...]

Abundance: Week 3, day 2

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Me, to the 3-year-old, as I toss some things in a box: "We are going to get rid of some of your toys, before you get new stuff for Christmas."The kid: "And we'll give it to some other children?" me: "Exactly! Who taught you about that, somebody at church?" Kid: "No, you did!"The joy for the day: that sometimes they listen. That sometimes, the good stuff sinks in. That "home" and "church" are not utterly separate places. And that we have more than enough to share. … [Read more...]

Week 3, Day 1: Dance it Out

Back to my rant on Celine Dion--if you like her, it's fine. Not judging. Nor do i mean to single out a single performer as "Everything that's Contrived and Cheesy about Christmas." Really, there is a whole gaggle of artists contributing to that cause.  I hear Clay Aiken's "O Holy Night," and i want to barf more than i want to sing. He literally almost chokes on that low note trying to croon it just right.Thing is, there are only so many Christmas/holiday songs in the world, and many artists h … [Read more...]

Week 3: The Beginnings of Joy

There's just something about a good beginning...If we are honest, any good preacher or speaker will tell you that with a good beginning (and a strong ending) you can get away with some not-so-impressive stuff in the middle. Not that one should make a habit of getting by with great intros and crummy content, but there's some grace to be found in a punchy beginning, and some weeks, that's a comfort.This is where Luke takes centerstage in the pageantry and high drama that we bring into late adv … [Read more...]

Touch: Week 2, Day 5

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Be Still: Week 2, Day 4

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” ― Wen … [Read more...]

Smell: Week 2, Day 3

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My kid's got a nose on her.I don't mean a glaring, unfortunate feature. I mean, she has a sensitive olefactory device. She has been known to tell her daddy that he smells like "beard." (Translation: something involving hops). Or to tell her brother, "Baby brother, you smell like waffles!" No man or child in her life will ever be able to sneak a cigarette, that's for sure. She will never be able to walk by a bakery un-tempted. She will never be able to live in a place that has a damp carpet s … [Read more...]


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