All posts tagged: Christmas

Photo by Tyler Delgado on Unsplash

A Strange Season: It is time to start thinking about the holidays, 2020 edition.

Rain danced on the window and opaque clouds turned the world vivid grey while we enjoyed our warm, dry, and glowing home. My son was quietly focused on his building blocks and the baby played at my feet while I cleaned up breakfast. I called to Arlo in the other room, “Would you like some music?” “Yeah,” he replied. “Charlie Brown Christmas!” It is the middle of August, but it seemed like a welcome change from the rotation of Raffi and the Laurie Berkner Band. I threw on the record and we settled into the peace that comes with the nostalgic offering of the Vince Guaraldi Trio. It brought to mind, again, something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: what are we to do about the 2020 holidays? It is entirely too early to begin making plans for the fall and winter celebrations, but this is an exceptional year. Why is this on my mind? It is more than a distraction from the strangeness that permeates social and political life. I find myself …

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

On Finding God Outside of the Church This Holiday Season

In America, a common quip around the holidays is, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” The assumption is that the primary focus of the [Christian] holiday should be belief, not consumerism. Though a bright one-liner, like other Chrisitan-isms, it falls flat and without meaning to most ears. It actually contains a lot of meaning, but none of the intended. Something about it does not sit right with me. It seethes with judgement, not love. It covers the sense of pride that some Christians carry with them – the holier than thou pride that is ancient as story itself. Jesus is, of course, the narrative at the core of Christmas celebration, but people created alternative figures to bear the message of love: Santa Claus, Ebenezer Scrooge, The Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman, to name only a few. Jesus is absolutely central to Christmas, but the church’s inability to fully bear the message of hope and love is rooted in human pride. It is an unsuccessful attempt at fooling the masses into believing that truth is …

Advent and a Lesson in Waiting

Photo by Josh Boot on Unsplash The waiting is the hardest part. We never like to do it. Studies have been conducted that show people would rather self-inflect electric shock than endure a period of quiet waiting. A pause in the busy day is both deeply desired and feared because the actual act of waiting – what happens when we have an unplanned pause – feels like torture. It requires us to face the reality of what is, which is nearly never in our minds as wonderful as what we are waiting to come around the bend. Or, perhaps, it is the waiting on a terrible thing that makes the waiting so torturous. Our minds are consumed with thoughts of the Bad Thing to come. Specific inventions were created to distract us from waiting: mobile devices, the Internet, social media. However, one could argue that consumer culture itself exists as a method to avoid waiting. This is no more evident in American culture than during the holiday season when consumer habits are amplified. The irony …