My family celebrates Christmas with a mix of Jesus and Santa Claus. But there is one story we don't tell.
It’s an odd year for my family. My parents, 88 and 89, have lived rich and full lives, and my husband, children and I have shared holidays large and small with them. But this year they are confined to rooms in a nursing home.
Several years ago I received from a parishioner a "Jesus Is the Reason for the Season" cookie tin. Every time I reached for a piece of Doris's divinity, I had to read that cheery-angry motto of Christian moralism.
The colonial Puritans did a lot of good things, but banning Christmas was not one of their better ideas.
As the second Sunday in advent approaches, I find the prophets of the season compelling. To my ears, their message sounds pretty consistent: "Change the ways of this world."
I decided our family's Christmas would be simple and spirit-centered. Green to parenting, I defined spiritual as anything that allowed me a minute to reflect on what, beyond the laundry, mattered.
Bring it on, commerce.
The pressure to keep up a relentless facade of merriment is not a Christian pressure. We may not be able to completely escape this, but perhaps we can lessen it by not confusing it with discipleship.