Week 2, Day 2: Magnificat

hill-and-hale

Mary's was the original Christmas carol. She is the reason that we sing our way through the season, the reason we can muster a song of joy in December, despite whatever cold, gray, snow or sleet might otherwise prevail. (Well, not at my house--70 and sunny here in AZ today, and yet the desert folks are dragging out mittens and making chili...)Thanks to Mary's song of praise, we enjoy a whole broad spectrum of songs in this season that help us to worship, to celebrate, to engage the gospel in … [Read more...]

An Empty House

A Tao of Christmas shopping, from a wannabe minimalist:So, i buy most of my kids' clothes at consignment sales. Also sell stuff there, so i almost break even. I go to this one sale twice a year (because it is at my church and i get to shop early!) While i'm shopping for clothes, i also keep my eyes peeled for good toys at super cheap prices. I buy a few here and there, so by the time Christmas rolls around, I buy each kid one new thing, and i'm pretty much done. They get about 4 gifts each, … [Read more...]

Top 10 Reasons Christians Should Stop Whining About Secular Xmas

Photo by Elisabeth Gawne

"Keep Christ in Christmas!" "Jesus is the reason for the season!" "It's OK to say Merry Christmas!"I don't disagree with any of these statements. However, as a PR rep for Jesus, I cringe whenever I see them printed on a sign somewhere. I know we all lament the commercialization of a sacred day; I know that it's frustrating to see something so meaningful reduced to plastic snowmen and frozen fruitcakes. That said, it's not worth getting all offended by a 'season's greetings' card, or a … [Read more...]

Simple Gifts

Every year we complain."The traffic is terrible!" "The lines are ridiculous!" "The stuff is out in October!" "If i hear one more Celine Dion 'O Holy Night,' I'm going to puke!" "My credit card bill is outrageous!"And then, every year...every year of the world...we do it all again.Why do we think this is what the season has to look like? We've been programmed, is why. And who is programming us? Retailers. Credit card companies. The vast and varied entertainment industries. They are counting … [Read more...]

The Business of Babies: A shopping list, a Lent reflection, and a bit of a memoir…

I recently cleared my house of ALOT of baby and kid stuff; not just outgrown clothes, but bouncers, extra strollers, baby seats and... on and on. Which caused me to reflect on how much of the stuff had actually been useful, and how much had just been in the way.Don't be fooled--babies are a business.  The folks at Target, Wal-Mart, and Tiny-Stuff-R-Us KNOW how to play on 1-your hormones,  2-your loss of control over your life and/or 3-your feelings of inadequacy. They play up all the baggage th … [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...]

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...]

There’s an App For That…

Advent, Week 1, Day 2No, not a Droid thing. But a practical application for the theme of "waiting" this week.Know what I find most difficult about the holiday season? (People whining about it? Well, yes. Unless I'm the one whining. Then it's ok).  What bugs me most is how long it takes to run a simple errand. I try to simplify my life as much as possible in December. I shop online so I don't have to run from store to store; i cook at home more and eat out less; i say "no" to some things; but … [Read more...]


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