Pack up you troubles in your old kit-bag

Our perspective in marking Remembrance Day is definitely at odds with views of the day, but that doesn't mean the sacrifices weren't worthy

As rhetorical formulations go, ”the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” packs a formidable punch. Signifying the coming into effect of the armistice that ended the First World War, the words have a striking resonance: eliciting solemnity, dignity and the sense of something very important. Much more so than VE Day or…

Halloween rekindles the child in all of us

There’s nothing inherently evil about the celebration of Halloween in our time

Halloween rekindles the child in all of usIs there any harm in participating in the annual celebration of Halloween? Some think so. I first encountered the opinion that Halloween may be spiritually dangerous when my children were young. I was surprised when a friend announced that her children would not be dressing up and trick-or-treating. She objected to the pagan roots of…

Rituals around death may help us live better

From creepy Halloween graveyard scenes to praying for the dead, our subconscious is trying to gain mastery over our fears about dying

Rituals around death may help us live betterEach year from Halloween on Oct. 31 to All Soul’s Day on Nov. 2, we give death a cultural nod. Does this fulfil some deep-seated need? We don’t have to be historians to recognize that Halloween is connected with death and dying. Just walk around any neighbourhood in the days preceding Halloween and you'll notice…

The Best Ways to Spend Thanksgiving with Aging Loved Ones

Use Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season to reflect upon the love and appreciation you have for your loved ones

The Best Ways to Spend Thanksgiving with Aging Loved OnesThanksgiving is an exciting time of year: it’s the kick-off to the holiday season, autumn is in full swing, and it’s a great excuse to spend time with family and loved ones eating delicious food. For many, especially those living with or who have aging loved ones, family get-togethers can be difficult to coordinate, and…

Are you an argumentative communicator?

How to make your point without alienating, angering or humiliating your audience

Are you an argumentative communicator?It’s that time of year when a lot of us take holidays with family and friends. As much as we enjoy getting together, conversations can be a bit prickly and leave loved ones feeling less supported than we might want. So we need some strategies for reducing potential misunderstandings when confronted with the argumentative communicator.…

Christmas Hosting Tips For Newbies

Christmas Hosting Tips For NewbiesHosting Christmas for the first time?  It is understandable if you are panicking slightly as it is an enormous responsibility and you will want to give all of your guests the best Christmas ever, whether it is just a few of you or a much larger group. Fortunately, there are a few steps that you…

New Year Resolutions, based on hope and a refreshed awareness

Perhaps some observations are just more obvious at this time of year. And perhaps it’s never too late to modify behaviour

New Year Resolutions, based on hope and a refreshed awarenessAs the ‘Ho ho ho’ spirit fades and the reality of a new year looms like an enormous new moon, I’m summoned back to the keyboard. Why not try one more time? an inner voice calls, lightly mocking my compulsion to seek somewhat new and beckoning pathways. Why not sketch out a template for personal…

Preparing for another Christmas at Skelhp

There are lights to hang, cleanup work to be done inside and out, kindling to split, a turkey to order and a final round of gifts to buy

Preparing for another Christmas at SkelhpIt’s very calm this morning and still a dark grey overcast at 7 a.m. The offshore islands are shrouded in mist. There’s no sign of human habitation right across the southern horizon. No rising plumes of chimney smoke are visible. No boats or tugs and booms are passing. And it’s cold in the house. Time…

There’s a place for religion in common and public life

At a time of heightened social divisions and isolation, not to mention divisive politics, religious illiteracy is costly

There’s a place for religion in common and public lifeChristmas often brings out the best in Canadians. We dig into our pockets for charity a little more. We volunteer more. And we make more time for friends and family than at other times of the year. But the holiday sometimes brings out our weirder side, too – especially when it comes to Canadian hang-ups…

Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lights

Across traditions and time, there has been a longing for light to brighten the darkness of winter

Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lightsI had a striking visual of light in darkness early one morning this week. 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 year – less than a week until Christmas – my thoughts turned to the legendary Star of…
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