The real work of Christmas begins after Christmas

The season of giving should remind us how to live the rest of the year

The real work of Christmas begins after ChristmasThe company has gone. The tree flops sadly at the curbside. The decorations are stowed away for another year. As we resume our normal activities, the feel-good generosity and goodwill of Christmas fade. With the Salvation Army kettles out of sight, the needs of others are out of mind. Howard Thurman, an African American whose…

Why Christmas matters in a secular society

It is shortsighted to restrict ourselves to a candy cane diet of Christmas cuteness

Why Christmas matters in a secular societyWe go to extremes to avoid the religious aspects of Christmas in the public sphere, and we are worse for it. Christian beliefs about Christmas might offend someone in our secular and multicultural society, so we ignore its religious and historical background. The reluctance to mention the origins of this much-loved holiday permeates early childhood…

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?

The pre-Christmas preparation can turn the jolliest of elves into Scrooges

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?I have a holiday cocktail napkin that reminds me to keep a sense of humour during the busy weeks leading up to Christmas Day. The napkin depicts a spotless 1950’s kitchen where a mother and daughter are preparing to take Christmas dinner out of the oven. The little girl looks excited about the feast ahead,…

The new normal is not so normal after all

We have learned nothing from the recent past

The new normal is not so normal after allThe new normal. It's a phrase that trips lightly off the lips. But, is the new normal actually something that has changed our behaviour? I don't think so. The new normal implies that the restrictions and practices of the last year and a half have changed the way we live and move. It implies that…

During pandemic, Easter traditions provide joy and hope

During pandemic, Easter traditions provide joy and hopeI recently heard a healthy middle-aged man describe the effects of COVID-19 on his life. COVID-19, he said, hasn’t affected him at all; he, his aging parents and his very elderly grandmother have not been ill. He may not be vaccinated. I found his viewpoint surprising. While no one I know or love has contracted…

Keeping the Christmas spirit alive beyond the festive season

The Christmas spirit only asks us, as Mother Teresa famously said, that we “do ordinary things with great love”

Keeping the Christmas spirit alive beyond the festive seasonWith traditional ways of celebrating on pause, Christmas 2020 was definitely one for the books. Despite COVID-19 – or maybe even because of it – I, and many people I know, celebrated the Christmas season well. As one of my good friends remarked, COVID-19 didn’t spoil her Christmas. She mused that she made new memories;…

Craving the touchstones of Christmas tradition

The traditions and rituals of the festive season have a part to play in creating a sense of normalcy during this time of pandemic

Craving the touchstones of Christmas traditionI almost lost my Christmas spirit, thanks to COVID-19. The reality of no family dinners, no gathering with friends and no church services to attend threatened to dampen my enthusiasm for the holiday season. Not wanting to be Scrooge, I took action. One grey, dreary day in early December, I tromped through the yard, cutting…

Think about the common good: wear a mask

The pandemic gives us a golden opportunity to be altruistic or egoistic

“Stay the blazes home,” was Premier Stephen McNeil’s frustrated plea to the citizens of Nova Scotia in April of this year. The plea resonated across the province; it captured the imagination and gave rise to a humorous bout of creativity. People could buy Stay the Blazes Home beer, T-shirts and other memorabilia while chanting a…

How to enjoy being idle without feeling guilty

Enjoying a break from work can be a spiritual imperative that is necessary for the well-being of the human spirit

How to enjoy being idle without feeling guilty“Never do today what someone else can do tomorrow.” In the same category is an Italian saying, “il bel far niente,” or “the beauty of doing nothing.” These adages seem to advocate laziness, selfishness and irresponsibility, but I think there’s a deeper wisdom at play: Doing nothing is good for us. The pace of our…

The relevance of Easter in light of the global pandemic

Uncertainty, constant change, anxiety, isolation and loss have become our universal companions. But this too will pass

The relevance of Easter in light of the global pandemicOver the next days and weeks, people of faith will have to be flexible and creative because COVID-19 has upended religious celebrations. Passover, Easter and Ramadan will have to be observed virtually in the home, making use of online streaming of religious services. FaceTime, Skype or Zoom will be useful in exchanging greetings in lieu…
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