When God Waited for Our Salvation: Timing the Resurrection in St. Athanasius’ _On the Incarnation_

As I mentioned the other day, I’m reading St. Athanasius’ On the Incarnation during this Nativity season. This time around, I’m listening to the treatise on audiobook while going about other tasks. Since I frequently zone out to concentrate on whatever I’m doing–the dishes, the laundry, cleaning the bathroom–I’m listening to it multiple times and letting my mind…

Reading St. Athanasius in Advent

Some people get into the “Christmas spirit”–however hokey that phrase is–by decorating, others by buying gifts or making cutout cookies or visiting or knitting. I dabble in all of the above, but what most ushers me into the unique and solemn joy of these short weeks before Christ’s birth is reading–or rather, rereading. Along with all the other…

The Rapture: An Orthodox Understanding (Infographic)

Fact #1: I grew up believing in the Rapture. Fact #2: I no longer believe in the Rapture. Really, I don’t. Fact #3: When I walk into a mysteriously empty room or a quiet home, my first (subconscious) instinct is still to check the floor for heaps of clothes and other telltale signs that people have been raptured.…

Christmas Eve with Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Well, Saturday is upon us and this evening, we will embark on the Great and Holy Feast of the Nativity of Christ. Call me crazy, but there’s always a bit of grief when you know a fast is ending. Believe me I’m looking forward to Christmas and all that entails (cough Bacon cough). But the fasts are always such a…

The Holy Friday of Christmas? What we remember when Christmas falls on a Sunday

Christmas being on a Sunday this year is kind of messing with my sense of time–I keep thinking it’s holy week. On this last day of the work week (perhaps last working day of 2016), time feels quiet, still and contemplative, like things are winding down. Like we are in the sad but peaceful eye of a storm…

Waiting for Christmas Bread: Orthodox-ifying an Old German Custom

Yesterday, we were talking about perfectionism and Christmas. At the end of the post, I mentioned something I was doing to help curb the all-or-nothing attitude of perfectionism during the holidays. Something to help prepare my heart for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ. That thing is making Kletzenbrot (dried pear bread), a German fruit bread that contains many…

A blessed Advent! From my perfectionism to yours…

The Advent and Christmas seasons are a perfectionist’s nightmare. At no time of year do the “shoulds,” “oughts,” and “pinterests” blare more loudly in our minds than December.  As soon as you get the old holiday ornaments out of storage, the shiny new ones gleam and scream from the store shelves: Buy me! You need me to have…

The Hollowness: Grief and Emptiness in Advent

What?! The Great Feast of the Nativity of our Savior is less than a week away? As is usual for me this time of year, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m failing at Christmas. As is also usual for me this time of year, I’ve come to a belated and idealistic conclusion: less perfectionizing, more…

What if Christmas *Did* Come from a Pagan Festival?

While traveling on the subway the other day, I overheard an interesting conversation between two strangers.   “Actually,” one person began grumbling, “They don’t know when he was born. I mean, if Christ was so important, you’d think we’d at least know his birthday!” A second person responded with similar cynicism: “And plus, Christmas came from a pagan…