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…

Christmas Cookies for a Jehovah’s Witness

  Addie (not her real name) is my neighbor. She lives down the hall of our apartment building. Our first real conversation happened last year. As I recall, it was Boxing Day (Dec 26). Between church and family gatherings, my husband and I had amassed more yuletide sweets than we could eat in a lifetime. I thought of…

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…