Every year, St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar (like so many other area churches, Catholic and not) sponsors a Giving Tree. At the start of Advent, the tree is covered with tags, each one listing a gift, either much needed or much wanted, or both. This year there were probably more than 1,000 tags. We grabbed a few, as did the other parishioners crowded around the tree after Masses that Sunday, most of us looking for just the right gift we wanted to get for someone in need. A warm coat. A new doll. A gift card to the grocery store. A sweatsuit. A poinsettia. Read more
The shoes were placed by the front door with care last night. Okay, to be honest, the almost-18-year-old just left them there out of habit, but the two girls were all over it. They still love the Feast of St. Nicholas. Somehow it’s like the unofficial start of the season around this house. Read more
Earlier this week another Catholic blogger decided to do a line-by-line dissection of the popular Christmas song “Mary, Did you Know?” Nothing he said was new to me; I’ve heard it all before from other writers who have harped on the misguided theological aspects of this pop-culture take on Mary and Jesus.
All I can say is this: If we don’t understand that people are moved by songs that make them feel some sort of spiritual stirring (even if the songs are theologically incorrect or not theological at all), then it’s no wonder our pews are empty. People respond first to the tug of the spirit. Then we get to theology. Read more
Don’t let the frenzy of the season rob you of the chance to wait in wonder this Advent. Here’s my OSV Newsweekly story from last Advent to get you in the spirit:
By Mary DeTurris Poust
By the time Advent officially begins, most of us have been bombarded by so much Christmas music and Christmas advertising and Christmas everything that we’re already sick of the season. In a world where the Christmas countdown begins sometime before Halloween, it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty of Advent, and to get so caught up in the material trappings that we can’t see the spiritual forest for the tinsel-covered trees. Read more
I love Advent and Christmas. Really I do. I wear a Santa hat, light the Advent wreath, deck the halls, and drink eggnog like it’s going out of style, but usually by this point I am in closer to a pit-of-despair feeling than I am to holly jolly.
And every year I forget that I felt the exact same way the year before. I can go back to posts from Advents gone by and see the same sorry attitude. Read more
As we move through the O Antiphons this week, I thought I’d let Amy Grant do the talking for me, at least for today, with this beautiful song, “El Shaddai.” Read more
Okay, here’s the question of the day: Is the Christmas stocking important or irrelevant? This debate rages at our house each Christmas season. For me, the Christmas stocking is key when it comes to under-the-tree goodies. For Dennis, it’s completely unnecessary and incomprehensible. He says he didn’t get a Christmas stocking as a child, which I think might qualify as child abuse in some states. I, on the other hand, continue to get a stocking from my dad and step-mom. Granted, it doesn’t come in an actual stocking anymore; it’s in a Christmas gift bag. But my dad always hands it to me and says, “And here’s your stocking.” Read more
I spent the past two days at my grandmother’s bedside, watching her die. We don’t know how long she has — minutes, hours, days, weeks? For anyone who’s been there, you know what I mean when I say it is both horrible and awe-inspiring to experience the dying process up close. When I said goodbye, I knew it was likely the last time I would see my grandmother alive since I don’t live close enough to pop in for regular visits. I whispered, “I love you,” as I hugged her, not expecting a response, but she whispered it right back to me. And so, as sad as it was, I will have that with me forever, that final exchange of love. Read more
So it occurred to me, as I scrolled through old photos looking for something to feature on Throwback Thursday this week, that the pajamas I was wearing on Christmas 2007 are the very same pajamas I’m still wearing. Well, not right this minute, but at night. In fact, these pajamas are considered my “good” pajamas because they are a matched set (received as a gift) and both pieces remain intact. The truth is that most of my pajamas are old T-shirts worn till the writing is faded and leggings or sweat pants worn till well past their expiration date. Read more