Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lights

Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lightsAcross traditions and time, there is a longing for light to brighten the darkness of winter I had a striking visual of light in darkness early one morning this month. A bright light, probably the planet Venus, shone with extraordinary clarity and pierced an otherwise black sky. Given my Christian faith and the time of…

Teaching kids gratitude at Christmas

Consumerism has become a “big problem” for kids, a roadblock on their way to becoming appreciative and contented individuals

Teaching kids gratitude at ChristmasConsumerism has become a “big problem” for kids Maybe I am romanticizing when I say that the Christmas of my childhood was not about stuff. There were fewer products, less pervasive advertising and no Black Friday sales. A few pages at the back of the Sears Wish Book were the inspiration for visions of sugarplums…

Father’s Day: A father’s role continues to evolve

When fathers are actively involved with their children, the children thrive

Father’s Day: A father’s role continues to evolveThe first Father’s Day was observed in Spokane, Wash., on June 19, 1910. Since then, the role of a father has evolved to include greater participation in a child’s day-to-day life. According to the Library of Congress Wise Guide, Sonora Dodd gets the credit for the day on which we honour fathers. Dodd’s father –…

Hippity hoppity: following the trail of the Easter bunny’s origins

What do bunnies and eggs have to do with the religious celebration of Easter?

Hippity hoppity: following the trail of the Easter bunny’s originsThe community Easter egg hunt was fun until the Easter bunny showed up. My granddaughter took one look at the hairy hare, and the bliss of savouring a chocolate egg turned to terror. My grandson carried on happily eating his treat until the Easter bunny approached him, at which point he too began to cry.…

Love wasn’t always in the air on Valentine’s Day

The Valentine’s Day of today has little resemblance to its ancient Roman and early Christian roots

Love wasn’t always in the air on Valentine’s DayLove is in the air, and with it, red roses, chocolates in heart-shaped boxes and jewelry. But today’s symbols and celebration of the romantic love we associate with Valentine’s Day have little resemblance to its ancient Roman and early Christian roots, both of which involved some violence. In the middle of February the ancient Romans…

Valentine’s Day is about making everyone feel special

In an otherwise ho-hum, often dreary month, Valentine’s Day rituals brighten the landscape of the heart

Valentine’s Day is about making everyone feel specialValentine’s Day is about feeling special – making others feel special and experiencing that same feeling. Valentine’s Day gained traction in medieval times as a celebration of love. Before the 14th century, it was a feast day in honour of St. Valentine. Valentine was a priest who defied Emperor Claudius II’s edict that forbade young…

The real work of Christmas begins after Christmas

The season of giving should remind us how to live the rest of the year

The real work of Christmas begins after ChristmasThe company has gone. The tree flops sadly at the curbside. The decorations are stowed away for another year. As we resume our normal activities, the feel-good generosity and goodwill of Christmas fade. With the Salvation Army kettles out of sight, the needs of others are out of mind. Howard Thurman, an African American whose…

Why Christmas matters in a secular society

It is shortsighted to restrict ourselves to a candy cane diet of Christmas cuteness

Why Christmas matters in a secular societyWe go to extremes to avoid the religious aspects of Christmas in the public sphere, and we are worse for it. Christian beliefs about Christmas might offend someone in our secular and multicultural society, so we ignore its religious and historical background. The reluctance to mention the origins of this much-loved holiday permeates early childhood…

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?

The pre-Christmas preparation can turn the jolliest of elves into Scrooges

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?I have a holiday cocktail napkin that reminds me to keep a sense of humour during the busy weeks leading up to Christmas Day. The napkin depicts a spotless 1950’s kitchen where a mother and daughter are preparing to take Christmas dinner out of the oven. The little girl looks excited about the feast ahead,…
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