Week 2, Day 2: Magnificat

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...]

Week 1, Day 5: In All Things, Peace

A guest post today from Shirley Mahood, active member of Foothills Christian Church. Shirley is a Stephens Minister, an experienced lecturer and retreat presenter, and the author of Making Our Lives Work. She is available for retreats and other gatherings, and may be reached at smahood@cox.netWhat Are You Waiting For? Peace. At all times and in all situations.I think this is what many people wait for, but it can be very elusive.  Even when it does come, it is fleeting.  We can be pea … [Read more...]

Week 1, Day 4: Our Every Gift

When I was a sophomore in college, my grandparents got new furniture, and got rid of the old. Among the outgoing stuff: two slate blue, la-z-boy recliners. They were, honestly, the most comfortable chairs on the planet. Plush and inviting, they rocked, they leaned back, they had just enough give and just enough support to make for the perfect sitting situation. Imagine my great joy upon learning that these chairs needed new homes. One of them came to live with me, and transformed my tiny dorm … [Read more...]

Advent: Week 1, Day 1

I started early this year. While I am usually a stickler for the liturgical year and save decorating, shopping, and festive music for the beginning of Advent proper, i got impatient. Or rather, i got that 'need a little Christmas' feeling in the wake of an ugly election cycle--as did we all--and i might have let some holiday cheer creep through my radio a full week before Thanksgiving. I might have done all my shopping (online) on black Friday. I might have put up my tree a full week before the … [Read more...]

A Prayer for World AIDS Day

Eight years ago, I went on a small mission trip to Swaziland, a tiny little kingdom in southern Africa, a (scary) 5-hour drive east of Johannesburg. One in four adults there is HIV positive--and that is just reported cases--ranking that country's rate of infection among the highest in the world. Poverty and gender inequality were, and remain, key factors in the spread of the disease.As one often learns on a mission trip, our time there was spent not so much 'doing' anything that would change … [Read more...]

Are We Still On This?

Dear Bill O'Reilly: there is no war on Christmas. It is alive and well, and 'merica spent the first $60 BILLION of it on Black Friday Weekend. (That's now a thing--not Thanksgiving, not Advent I, but Black Friday Weekend).Is our faith so tenuous that we need it to be affirmed by the retailers? (--says a wise member of my congregation) By the greeting card industry? By the person fixing our pumpkin spice latte?I've already said my peace about all the reasons we need to stop being so touchy a … [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...]

Like Frosty Said… the Sun Was Hot That Day

I think i say this, or something like it, every year of the world. But, here it is again:It is really, really hard to get into Advent and Christmas mode when it is 80-degrees and sunny outside. There's something just downright apocolyptic about driving down a scenic desert highway, with gorgeous views and sunshine, and hearing 'Holly Jolly Christmas" or "Frosty the Snowman"  come on the radio. Nevermind the fact that 'Holly Jolly" is just about the worst song in the history of the world...it … [Read more...]

Top 10 Reasons Christians Should Stop Whining About Secular Xmas

"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...]


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