Merry Christmas!

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be Orthodox in America this December and it’s kind of making me chuckle. Forgive me, but we’re a little bipolar. Not in the medical sense, but insofar as we are vacillating between two states of mind, two cultures — you might say we are caught between Nativity and Christmas! I wouldn’t wish you a blessed Nativity today, I won’t call out, ‘Christ is born!’…

Giving in Secret

This post originally appeared as a podcast episode in 2012.   From Christ’s own parables to the teachings of the desert fathers, some of the very best lessons we learn in Orthodoxy are the simplest ones. When I think of St. Nicholas — whose feast day is coming up shortly — it seems to me that his story offers a beautiful and simple truth that our kids should spend some time considering.…

Gratitude

This originally appeared as a podcast episode on November of 2012. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This is such a beautiful holiday — all the more so because it’s so rare for just about everyone in the United States to stop moving, gather together with family and loved ones, and express gratitude to our Creator. In recent decades, our nation has begun to struggle against sharing religious experiences; freedom of religion is being reshaped into…

Orthodox Children’s Book wins National Award!

Orthodoxy may be the second largest Christian Church in the world, but in America, we are largely unknown — so when an Orthodox children’s book is a finalist in a national book award, we should all celebrate! Glory be to God! If you are not already reading Charlotte Riggle’s Catherine’s Pascha to your children at bedtime, you may want to take a moment to get to know this rich and beautiful book, which…

Stillness

Lately I’ve been noticing that when we’re doing our family prayers, or when we’re in church, my eight year old may be standing quietly, may even be saying the words — but it doesn’t seem like she’s really praying. It’s hard to help kids make that transition. We begin by just trying to get them to be physically present at prayers, and then we work on not distracting other people or not…

Nativity & the Solidarity of Mankind

If you are contemplating Jesse trees or lessons for an Advent countdown during the upcoming Nativity fast, this 2014 podcast episode might be of interest to you. It’s time for us to lead our children to the great feast of the Nativity of Christ, Christmas. Many families will use the Jesse Tree to bring the 40-day Nativity fast to life for their kids. Search ‘Orthodox Jesse Tree’ online, or check out my 2014…