Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Primer

When retailers began putting up Christmas trees in October, the holidays seemed so far away. All the warm weather we've had on the east coast hasn't helped either --except, er, that one Artic storm at the end of last month. Snow and ice. Now that was a shocker! But here we are. Thanksgiving has come and gone and we find ourselves at the start of the Christmas season. I sense that some of us may be worrried that all the talk about sales and gift-giving will get in the way of the true meaning of this time of year. Well, I've got the easy answer to making it purposeful (no matter how many doorbusters they throw our way).

Just keep giving thanks! That's right. Don't let up. Instead, allow that feeling of gratefulness to gain momentum because the holiday season is a wonderful time to reflect. Think about the many blessings God bestowed on you and yours this past year alone. Food, clothes, health, shelter, family and friends. What, didn't you have all those things? How about some of them? One of them? I challenge you to start your celebration with a notion of already being blessed and creating that holiday joy inside your own heart. When you do that Christmas and New Year's won't just be about spending. They won't even be about receiving gifts or making resolutions. As you begin to reflect on God the season will come alive with love and true thanks. Thanks to the Father for the gift of his son, Jesus Christ.

Here's to the most wonderful time of the year!


Monday, November 7, 2011

November is Native American Heritage Month

Last of the Mohicans, cover illustration, 1919, N.C. Wyeth

This year we are learning more about Native Americans.  During the month of November our public library system is offering several free programs and activities where all ages are invited to learn about America's first inhabitants. It's not just what is taught in school about the first Thanksgiving but much, much more. So far the children and I listened to colorful stories from a Native storyteller, checked out some great books and will be attending a program featuring Indian art. There is even a science lesson were the kids can make an interactive project while they learn. I don't know who's more excited, them or me.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn real history instead of the history many would like to portray. When we can respect and embrace other people's cultural differences, then it means we are comfortable in our own skin.  Loving ourselves is the big step toward loving others. That's my hope for my children and also for the world.