On Santa Day, I have these visions of amazing photos and crafts and great food and sitting by the outdoor fire pit and seeing the reindeer and riding on the hayride around the farm until we skip to the car holding hands and smiling at the fantastic experience and talk non-stop on the short ride home. Instead, the day goes something like this.
The lovely blue glass container holds a small roll of parchment on which is written the traditional Jewish prayer that begins, "Shema Yisrael." For those in the know, this mezuzah reveals that those who live in the house are Jewish.
Each year, I wish for the same things -- an end to war, poverty, hunger, violence and disease -- and each year, I find the world relatively unchanged. Millions continue to die every year, casualties of a world that places greater value on war machines and profit margins than human life.
What about those few, exceptional lighting enthusiasts who go above and beyond? Most of us are happy with some string lights and tinsel, but not these folks! These DIYers just snagged the gold medal for this event, and here's why.
We talk about Santa, we read books about Santa, we watch movies about Santa. But Matteo (who is 4 this year) has always helped buy gifts for others, never received a present "From Santa" and has always been very appreciative of the people who actually gave him gifts.
I found myself driving by his condo one evening in early December. Through the long rectangular windows, I saw the white lights of a Christmas tree sparkling against the glass. And I knew, in my heart, he had found someone else.
Have you ever been enamored by a child's sense of wonder? Their incredulous awe in myths like the tooth fairy and Santa, their wide-eyed anticipation of unwrapping a present?
In the end, I would much rather live a life of abundant joy no matter what circumstances I will face. I don't want to spend one holiday bitter, angry, or aggrieved. I refuse to allow the junk in my life to decide the amount of joy and happiness that floods my heart.
hiraeth (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost...
On the surface, this charitable giving may seem like the right thing to do for the holiday season. In reality, it's part of a nefarious plot being perpetrated by the lamestream media and Comrade Obama to turn true patriots into bleeding heart liberals and bring down this once-great nation.
As the shopping days countdown, our hearts open wide toward giving to others, expressing sincere best wishes, sharing joyful moments and visiting with friends and family. The weather continues to get colder and grayer, but our hearts grow warmer with love.
After declaring this Santa the real article, my 6-year-old nephew Tyler bellowed, "We're all very lucky kids!" But I felt like the lucky one. Because in that moment, I felt the magic of Christmas that had escaped me since mom had died. I couldn't think of a single reason why I shouldn't be smiling.
Maybe you got so caught up in watching old Christmas movies and partying your life away at all of those Christmas celebrations that you didn't take the time to finish your holiday shopping. Whatever the case may be, you are here, weeks have passed, and there is nothing you can do about it now. Or is there?
This year, I've found myself focusing on the words of the songs rather than getting caught up in the emotion of them, and I can't believe what I've been singing all these years.
The Westboro Baptist Church expresses their beliefs through parodies of traditional carols or holiday songs. For its members, Christmas is simply one more example of pagan inspired idolatry, completely lacking in Biblical basis.
Many stories are told of his kindness, such as the one of the poor man and his three daughters. To save the daughters from being sold into prostitution for want of dowries, St. Nicholas dropped a bag full of gold down the man's chimney.