The first day of Advent comes on Sunday. Some people take this more seriously than others. I personally won’t police the songs we’ll sing in worship over the next few weeks to keep out things properly reserved for Christmas, for example, but I do know of pastors who will do everything in their power to keep a sharp demarcation between Advent and Christmas — and that means no “Joy to the World” until the Lord is come. On the one hand, a legalistic adherence to the church calen
Thursday is Thanksgiving, a day of food, family, and friends. It's the day that we who have been so richly blessed by God will simply slow down and say, "Thank you." This year, though, things won't be normal for countless families. They will, for the very first time, observe the holiday without a family member. A parent has died in the last year, a sibling disowned his or her family, a spouse did the unthinkable and the other was forced to end the marriage in a bitter divorce
The first snow of the season has flurried, according to some of you, thus having everyone give fall a miss and go straight from summer to winter, it seems. Last night we decorated the church for Christmas as best we could, and Saturday we'll box Thanksgiving meals before setting up the Nativity scene out front. As the song goes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas -- even though it's still mid-November. Despite the fact it feels far too early for all this, it's time t
I'm still thinking quite a bit about stories. I don't just mean fairy tales, and I don't just mean fiction in general. I'm talking about all of them, for every story can teach us something worthwhile, fiction or nonfiction. A kerfuffle once arose between me and a woman I know over the purpose of stories. I maintain they aren't designed to teach morality, per se, but they are designed to teach us how to be human. Odds are the book you consider to be the worst you've ever read
Trevor recently reminded me of one of life's ultimate truths: the greatest toy in the world is a big box. Every kid loves playing in anything they can fit inside of, but appliance boxes (especially the coveted refrigerator boxes) seem particularly popular. But why? Why is a cardboard box so amazing? Imagination. A toy is what it is, but a box can be anything: a barn, a spaceship, a house, a fort, you name it. The cardboard is a blank slate upon which to paint in wide strokes
This is your annual friendly November public service announcement! I know we're all excited to make it to November. This means Christmas is now officially next month, and that's usually a big hit with most people. Just sensational. But before we get to the part where we put dead trees in our living rooms, we come to another holiday. It's a pretty big hit, too, especially if you like parades or cartoons of dogs making toast. Thanksgiving. I repeat: the holiday is Thanksgiving.