Christmas Eve Reflection from Thessaloniki

Every year I write a Christmas Eve Reflection. Usually it's in a fully decorated home with Christmas music playing in the background. It's written in the midst of the frenzied joy of Christmas in the West and I usually have presents to wrap and stockings to fill. This year I write it from the sunshine … Continue reading Christmas Eve Reflection from Thessaloniki

A Life Overseas – ‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

Deck the halls with calls for charity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! ‘Tis the season of incongruity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! #CottageChristmas or starving children? Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! My heart is caught and I cannot win this thing! Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laa. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this. The sense of incongruity is overwhelming me this Christmas. I go from essays … Continue reading A Life Overseas – ‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

#OnlytheGood – Christmas 2017

It's Friday and I'm sitting by our Christmas tree. I could sit here all day, just writing, thinking, dreaming, and reading. I know that December 25th is a constructed holiday, that most probably the birth of Christ did not happen in winter, yet I am so grateful that we have this joy to brighten days … Continue reading #OnlytheGood – Christmas 2017

Advent Reflection – If You are Weary

We put up our Christmas tree yesterday. It is beautiful - a Balsam pine tree that brings the forest into our living room. It's a tall tree, reaching proudly to our ceiling, decked out in the season's finest white lights and many years of ornaments. I sit beside our tree and I almost forget that … Continue reading Advent Reflection – If You are Weary

To the Weary Ones

No doubt you are up early. Whether traveling or staying at home, you have things to do, groceries to buy, errands to run, work to finish. You love the season of Advent leading up to Christmas day, but you are so weary. The living room is finally clean, but the last few nights you have … Continue reading To the Weary Ones

A Broken World Meets an Advent Season

A Pakistan International Airlines flight headed to Islamabad from a remote mountain area crashed on a mountain slope today. Before the plane hit the ground it burst into flames. There are no survivors. A 6.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia has caused damage and killed over one hundred people. Rescue efforts are underway … Continue reading A Broken World Meets an Advent Season

An Invitation to Wonder

won·der /ˈwəndər/ noun a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. We put up our Christmas tree last night. Within an hour and a half the room was transformed from chaotic and bland to sparkling brilliance. The ornaments reflect the white lights and the result is lovely. Early … Continue reading An Invitation to Wonder

Aunt Gracia and the White House Christmas Ornaments

Like so many others in the western world, we took down our tree this weekend. While there is much excitement and anticipation as we put it up, there is relief and refreshment as we take it down. Trees that come into our homes fresh and green, begin to shed needles in abundance, branches hanging heavy like the arms … Continue reading Aunt Gracia and the White House Christmas Ornaments

On Celebrating Nativity

Yesterday was Feast of the Nativity - our Orthodox Christmas. As people new to the Orthodox church, we are still learning how to walk between these dates and traditions. Our Protestant families celebrate the 25th of December and we will continue to do this. But along with that is a new celebration on the 7th … Continue reading On Celebrating Nativity

The Importance of Moveable Pieces

In a town in California, a small Serbian community gathers together on January 7th to celebrate Nativity -- by shooting guns into the air. A short video taken from a news broadcast shows a community gathered, intent on keeping something from all that was lost, determined to keep traditions alive despite being a small diaspora. You hear the … Continue reading The Importance of Moveable Pieces

A New Christ Candle

A New Christ Candle by Robynn A New Year As you might remember each year when Christmas is over and the tree is dragged down the street to where the dead trees go (to become fish habitat in streams or mulch for gardens) and the ornaments are wrapped in tissue paper and put back in … Continue reading A New Christ Candle

“How did it get so late so soon?”

The house is dark as I get up and make my way to the kitchen, bleary-eyed, knowing I need coffee. It has been nonstop people, meals, dishes, talk, games, presents, more tea, more talk, more games, more presents, and more tea. Thank God for tea. And it is wonderful and exhausting, but mostly wonderful. I … Continue reading “How did it get so late so soon?”

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! In my faith tradition traditionally December 25th is celebrated as Western Christmas. (Stay tuned for more on Eastern Christmas or Nativity.) In our family, this has never been a time just for gifts and extravagance in everything from material goods to food. Instead it has been a time to remember the birth of someone we believe … Continue reading Merry Christmas!

Reflect & Remember

It's a Sunday afternoon and I am sitting on the couch, feet curled up under me and a cat by my side. The decorated Christmas tree with its lights twinkling and ornaments shiny is in front of me, soft Christmas music in the back ground. I chuckle inside - my life is never like a … Continue reading Reflect & Remember

The Perfect Christmas Present to give your Child This Year!

The Perfect Christmas Present to give your Child This Year! By Robynn The children’s pastor and his assistant at our church have been running a competition of sorts. Write down the perfect Christmas present a parent can give a kid on a piece of paper. Stick it in the box. The winner who accurately guesses … Continue reading The Perfect Christmas Present to give your Child This Year!

A Ten-Dollar Coupon and My Poverty of Soul

The ten-dollar coupon had grown hot in my hand. Literally. I was clutching it tightly. I was doing something I have never done: Arriving at Macy's at seven in the morning, at the ready for the Big.Sale. Truth is - I had only just realized Macy's was having a Big.Sale. The coupon and the sale … Continue reading A Ten-Dollar Coupon and My Poverty of Soul

We found Baby Jesus

The night before Thanksgiving we found Baby Jesus. He was in a box of toys that we took down for two small favorites of ours - the kids of our friends Eric and Lara. In a medium-sized box, scrambled among small and medium sized dolls, there was Baby Jesus. When we took out the felt … Continue reading We found Baby Jesus

Seasons of Waiting

Each year the season of Advent takes me by surprise. Instead of coming on with a shout, a "look at me, look at me," Advent comes with a whisper. It comes as I am busy with other things and whispers "Pay attention, I'm here." It comes with cold weather and crowded sidewalks, it comes with … Continue reading Seasons of Waiting