Don’t Forget the Sabbath Spice!

A sermon preached at First Church in Boston, December 7, 2014

I am grateful to Neil McGarry for bringing “A Christmas Carol” to life for us this morning. The dialogue between Ebeneezer Scrooge and his nephew Fred captures so much about this season and the struggle within our own hearts.

After all, as Scrooge says, what is Christmas but a time for finding yourself a year older and not a penny richer! When my young daughter asks me “Please, Mommy, don’t skip the commercials” for all kinds of sparkly flashy plastic over-priced toys, it takes incredible restraint for me NOT to say, “Bah! Humbug!”

Don’t tell her that, okay? You see we are trying to teach her critical thinking and moral values. I want her to understand how to be intentional and responsible with money. She is a child privileged enough to have all her basic needs met with additional resources for fun and giving. Continue reading

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7 Ways to Savor the Holidays especially for families with children

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1. Enjoy Traditional Foods

Cooking together is a great way to connect with children. Enjoying special recipes or buying traditional holiday foods is also a fun and delicious way to pass on your family history and culture!

2. Share Stories

The holidays are filled with wonderful stories to share. Take time to tell stories about past celebrations, snuggle up with treasured picture books, and ask children which stories they would like to revisit. Stories give holidays meaning.

3. Practice Rituals

Whether it is saying grace at dinnertime, sharing what you are grateful for at bedtime or lighting a candle with special words, having a centering practice as a family will make this season more spiritually renewing.

4. Spend Time Outdoors

Make sure you take time each day to go outdoors! Children need time to run around and play. Also, going out together in the darkness to see Christmas lights is a magical and memorable way to experience the wonder of this season.

5. Create Quiet Moments

Holidays can be noisy and overwhelming for all ages! Bring peace and comfort into your home by creating “quiet time” to read, draw, write, or simply sit together and share.

6. Give from the Heart

Encourage children to make or purchase thoughtful presents. Instead of spending lots of money, older family members will appreciate original artwork, photographs, homemade treats or experiences to be shared together next year.

7. Service to Others

Generosity is the true spirit of this season. There are many opportunities to be of service including gift drives, caroling in Senior Centers, doing errands for an elderly friend or relative, or decorating a tree with edible treats for the birds. Making service a priority during the holidays models for children the value of helping others.

Above all, do not let the commercialism and busyness of this season crowd out what matters most: Gratitude, Wonder & Love.

Christmas Storytelling in Dover

Thursday, December 8th, 2pm-4pm

As a part of the Christmas program at the Dover Town Library, I will be telling two Christmas stories: The Polar Express and Olive, the other reindeer from 3pm-3:30pm.  Come share in the magic and fun of the season! (Map)

Everyone is invited to bring a wrapped tree ornament for the ornament swap and take a new one on your way home.

Enjoy treats and snacks and holiday cheer.