celebrations

Why We Feast: A Matter of Life and Death

“I have come that you may have life and have it to the fullest.”  (John 10:10) “The glory of God is man fully alive.”  ∼ St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies The Church tells us that we exist for the purpose of giving glory to God. We see that happening most directly in the liturgy of the … Read more

Counting Christmas: Celebrating the Twelfth Night

Eight octave days, culminating in a New Year. Twelve days before Epiphany. Forty days until the Presentation. This is how we count the days of Christmas. The octave and forty days are biblical, prescribed by the Mosaic Law for Circumcision and the dedication in the Temple of a male who opens his mother’s womb. Through … Read more

On Celebration and Lamentation

A writer can learn a lot from people who comment on his writings. My Thanksgiving Day piece on the “Secular Puritan Covenant” elicited one reader’s opinion that we should celebrate a “Native Americans’ Day” to celebrate the contributions they made and the experiences they suffered during the settlement of North America. I initially demurred, noting that … Read more

The Proper Way to Celebrate Holidays

According to a Nielsen survey conducted a few years ago, the 5th and 7th biggest beer-drinking holidays in America are Christmas and Easter respectively. That year, Americans consumed 59,393,752 cases of beer at Christmas and 53,458,630 cases on Easter. I find this strange because Christmas and Easter are the two seminal feasts on the Christian calendar, yet … Read more

Keeping the Feast: The Unity of Faith & Life

My friend Jeremiah sent me a link to the music video for the song “Dégénération,” by the French-Canadian band Mes Aïeux. In the video, an elderly Québécois farmer shovels dirt from a pile into a wheelbarrow before trudging deliberately down the furrows of a field to meet a slightly younger woman who scoops some into … Read more

Don’t Trade Halloween for Reformation Sunday

Last October, my 12-year-old son stood in the aisle of our local pharmacy and held up a life-like foam replica of a human skull. “How about this one?” I winced. My son rolled his eyes. “Come on!” he coaxed. “St. Francis had one!” Of course he did. I placed the skull in our cart, along … Read more

To Love, Honor, and Betray

The New York Times‘ “Vows” section is usually the lightest part of the paper. The charming love stories, photos of beautiful gowns, and glimpses into happy celebrations never fail to lift the reader’s spirits. So it was with some surprise that I noticed one wedding announcement last month brought outrage in the comments section and … Read more

Nothing under the Skin

When I was a boy, I used to walk a mile or so into the woods behind my house, with only the family dog and my thoughts for company. I was lonely in those days, and still that loneliness is a mystery to me, even a source of some bittersweet nostalgia. I can almost remember … Read more

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