• christianity,  christmas,  consumerism,  simple living

    Why I Don’t Do Christmas | On Being

    This writer reflects my own thoughts. I bought no presents this year. I did make Christmas ornaments so I don’t show up empty-handed at gatherings where I will receive gifts from friends who feel obligated to give. I would love to permanently relieve them of that obligation. I will make my usual year-end donations to a variety of charities doing good work locally and abroad. And that is it. Like this writer, I refuse to participate in the consumerist distortion of Christmas. Instead, I’ll meditate on how I might live out the mystery and joy in the story of the incarnation in my everyday life. http://www.onbeing.org/blog/why-i-dont-do-christmas/4964

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  • charity,  christmas,  power of less

    Alternative Christmas Gift Idea

    Instead of buying gifts that people don’t need and probably don’t even want, why not make charitable donations in their names? You can choose a cause you know the person supports or give to your favorite charity. I have done this for the last several years. I will warn you. Sometimes people don’t understand your gift. Really. They look confused, as if they would rather have a pointless doodad that they will throw away or sell in a garage sale or hide in the closet unless they think your are coming over. You can ignore the confused looks or, do like me, don’t bother to tell the confused folks that…

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  • christmas,  consumerism,  holidays

    What is Christmas?

    Originally published in 2009 on The Virtual Hermitay. For easier reading, download this essay as a PDF. Most Western Christians take for granted that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. It’s all about manger scenes, shepherds in the field, and wise men. What most don’t realize is that celebrating Christ’s birth wasn’t even on the agenda of the early church. There are no indications in the writings of the New Testament or the earliest historical writings of the church that there was any interest in celebrating the birth of Christ. The emphasis was on his death and resurrection. Birthdays, in general, were just not that important. In addition, there…

  • christmas,  weather


    I had never experienced a white Christmas until this year. An unusual, record-breaking snow storm hit Oklahoma on Christmas Eve and dropped 14 inches of snow in about 12 hours time. It was beautiful for about the first 3 hours on Christmas Day; now it’s just a cold, wet mess. On the second day of Christmas there has been no sighting of turtle doves, only lots of snow and icy slush. I hope that  when I’m 90 years old I can say, “I remember the ONE white Christmas I witnessed in Oklahoma.”