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O Adonai…

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

The great Christmas stocking debate returns

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

Preparing for a death, not a birth this Advent

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

Life in My 50s: Throw out those pajamas!

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

Happy St. Nicholas Day. What’s in your shoe?

The shoes were placed by the front door with care last night. Okay, to be honest, the almost-17-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

Skip the mall this year. Trust me, it can be done.

A lot of  my friends  and family members are already wrapping Christmas gifts, which I find truly astounding because I haven’t even started shopping. Haven’t bought a single gift. Haven’t even thought about buying a single gift. But I can tell you this, when I finally do start shopping it will not be at either of the local malls. I’m not a mall person, especially during the holiday season, and I like to support local businesses. So my goal every Christmas is to avoid the mall at all costs, to buy only within the confines of my own town, or, when absolutely necessary, online. I still have young kids, so some things have to come from the big guns and not from local artisans. Read more

The Advent Games: Catching Fire

If any of you were around these parts last year, you may remember that we started our Advent season not with a prayer but with a coin toss. Because that’s how we roll here at the Poust House. We can take four weeks of peace, joy, and love and turn it into an epic battle of wits, willpower, and outright manipulation. Katniss has got nothing on these kids. All they’re lacking is the bow and arrow. And so it begins again. Who knows what this Advent will bring, but nothing would surprise me. Read more

Slow down and savor the Advent season

Advent is less than one week away. How will you make it special? Here’s a little something to get you in the spirit, my Advent In Focus story, which is running in the current issue of OSV Newsweekly:

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

‘Why, God?’ A priest offers an honest answer

In these days of dark and light, suffering and joy, this recent New York Times op-ed by a priest via Maureen Dowd is definitely worth the read:

How does one celebrate Christmas with the fresh memory of 20 children and 7 adults ruthlessly murdered in Newtown; with the searing image from Webster of firemen rushing to save lives ensnared in a burning house by a maniac who wrote that his favorite activity was “killing people”? How can we celebrate the love of a God become flesh when God doesn’t seem to do the loving thing? If we believe, as we do, that God is all-powerful and all-knowing, why doesn’t He use this knowledge and power for good in the face of the evils that touch our lives? Read more