As per usual, on Friday, we had all sorts of Buy Nothing Day festivities (check out the video here). But that's not what I want to talk about.
The day after Thanksgiving, thousands of Americans head for the shopping malls for a ritual known as Black Friday, called such as it's a day when many retailers move from the red (losses) into the black (gains).
Black Friday is "celebrated" nationwide by working off Thanksgiving's meal by shopping. Over a decade ago another celebration was started on the same day: Buy Nothing Day.
We first published this reflection by Jim Wallis in 2002. It has since become our Christmas tradition, kind of our own Charlie Brown Christmas special, if you will. With the ongoing conflicts raging during each passing year, it remains tragically relevant.
Silent Night, by Stanley Weintraub, is the story of Christmas Eve, 1914, on the World War I battlefield in [...]
During Advent, as I kindle the wreath candles that mark the journey to the Bethlehem stable, I return to particular writers that I love and certain music that I can't seem to get through the seasons without. I have Advent habits.
For instance, I often re-read W.H. Auden's For the Time Being. In one portion King Herod weighs the threat to publiic order posed by the birth of the Christ child. Is the collatoral damage of murdering the male children justified in order to maintain [...]
A few years ago I remember a pastor friend telling me they tried something a little different for their Christmas services. Instead of the usual holiday décor and clutter of the sanctuary, they brought in a bunch of manure and hay and scattered it under the pews so the place would really smell like the stank manger where it all began. I remember laughing hysterically as he described everyone coming [...]
As you all encounter pictures of "jolly, old St. Nick" this season, remember that St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was a real Christian hero. He spent his life working for freedom and justice for the poor and powerless. In particular, he is known for saving three women from being sold into prostitution and preventing the execution of three men who were wrongfully convicted.
As a child I found no joy in an Advent calendar; all those little flaps and doors and bite-size pieces of chocolate signified nothing more than the fact that Christmas was still a really, really long time away. Especially as I got down to the last few doors, just a few days before the big event, time seemed to take on a pace as slow as molasses sucked through a straw. Admittedly, the coming of the [...]