• Living the Season Well,  The Church Year

    Twelve Days of Christmas Begins on Christmas Day

    Christmas is a season, not just a day, in spite of the consumer-driven, gift-focused frenzy that surrounds December 25th. There is one calendar we are used to keeping time by, but as followers of Jesus, the church calendar provides a Christ-centered focus for our days. In the church year the Christmas season is marked by the birth of Christ as it should be, but that is only the beginning of the holidays. The Twelve Days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day ending on Epiphany January 6th. The season of Twelvetide (as it is sometimes called) is a slow walk into the new year and beyond, ending with the celebration marking…

  • The Church Year

    A Slow Walk into the New Year

    It’s New Year’s Eve as I sit here in my Seattle dining room, typing with a view to the sky. Things are quiet; only the chimes noising their song outside my window as the gray and muted horizon frames the day. It’s time to be pensive and think deep thoughts, I suppose. Here are some of mine as we end not only this year, but an entire decade. There are those who relish the action of turning the last page of December’s calendar with the promise of a new start each January. But the invisible leap from one year to the next sometimes is akin to falling over a precipice…

  • The Church Year

    Christmas: Mystery, Miracle or Magic?

    “Did not a great grey servant Of all my sires and me, Build this pavilion of the pines, And herd the fowls and fill the vines, And labour and pass and leave no signs Save mercy and mystery?”                                                 –G.K. Chesterton, from the Ballad of the White Horse, Book IV The holiday weeks are often heralded as the most wonderful time of the year; God knows we also W O R K to make it the most wonderful time of the year.  Unspoken pressures and unrealistic expectations—whether from others outside or inside ourselves—can back us into a corner and leave us, if not defeated, a little discouraged. We want magic…