Of Grave Blankets and Prayer for the Dead

Every Christmas, the cemetery where my son has been laid to rest sends a mailer offering to place Christmas decorations on his grave for me. Throughout the year, I think of my son as being alive in Christ, present in the chalice, and always available to respond to prayerful requests (Luka, run and help her!) Then the annual mailer shows up, and I am reminded of the other truth: my son is…

Thanksgiving

I’m grateful for a national day of giving thanks. It’s good to embrace this day every year — not waiting until everything in our lives is perfect, not waiting until we get past this current problem, but stopping in the midst of life’s difficulties and chaos to be grateful. There will always be another challenge, another difficulty to overcome, so we can’t wait to give thanks. Indeed, if we can be grateful…

Orthodox Fiction

As the weather grows cold, I start gravitating toward warm blankets and good books. This time of year is perfect for snuggling up on a Saturday morning to be transported to another world… and how lovely if that world has echoes of Orthodoxy woven into its tapestry! I don’t mean books that teach you how great Orthodoxy is, but rather, books with a vague scent of incense and an awareness of our…

How the Old Testament Can Put Christ Back in Christmas

One of the really amazing things I discovered about Orthodoxy is that we understand the Old Testament differently than most Christians. I grew up reading the Bible with the understanding that the New Testament was about Jesus, and the Old Testament was a history of God’s people which conveniently offered morals to live by. When I became Orthodox, I very slowly started to realize that we were understanding those stories in a…

All-American Slava

When I married into a Serbian Orthodox family, I gained a Krsna Slava in the bargain, and now I wish everyone had one! You see, many years ago (perhaps a thousand years!), my husband’s ancestors converted to Christianity; that first household or tribe was baptized on the feast day of St. Luke the Evangelist. Rather than assign a patron saint to each member individually, ever since that first baptism, our family has…