The Feast of Stephen

Today is St. Stephen’s Day (the Feast of Stephen referred to in the holiday song “Good King Wenceslas”). Stephen was the first martyr of the Catholic church. He was accused of blasphemy and stoned to death, for seeking fairer distribution of aid to Greek-speaking widows.

My late friend Ruth used to have a party in her home every year on the Saturday after Christmas. She called it St. Stephen’s Day, whether or not it was the 26th. She chose the day so that everyone could be with their families during the holidays, but still gather with friends for further celebrations. One of the songs that would inevitably be played was the Chieftains and Elvis Costello performing “The St. Stephen’s Day Murders.”

This is for you, Ruth.


The True Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — A Teacher’s Reflections

The Story of Rudolph While there are slightly different variations on this true story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, most of this story is accurate. More importantly, it is heartwarming and goes well beyond the making of the story – proof that it is far better to give than to receive. Merry Christmas! THE TRUE […]

I love Rudolph. So now you know.

via The True Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — A Teacher’s Reflections

Grieving The Missing Christmas Presence — john pavlovitz

Baby, all I want for Christmas is you. When grief visits you, the holidays change. Your wish list becomes incredibly small. Your priorities crystalize down to the essential, elemental things. Suddenly gone are the extraneous, superfluous wants and aspirations. You only desire one present now: presence. When you lose someone you love, you forever realize……

I literally just mentioned on FB that my first Christmas without my dad has seen me more contemplative than festive, and not having the energy to decorate and do the things I usually do. Then, Pastor Pavlovitz published this beautiful essay that spoke my heart more clearly than I am able to just now.

via Grieving The Missing Christmas Presence — john pavlovitz

Silent Light: In the Stillness of the Morning | Radleigh Valentine

Not a single sound in the air. Nothing to break the peace of this pre-dawn silent night. And yet, the snow was reflecting what light there was from street lamps and holiday decorations. So it was more of a silent Light than a silent night.

I love magical moments – experiences that catch you by surprise and take your breath away.

For a few minutes I forgot all about the honey and the mail. I just found myself looking all around me to take it all in. I wondered if anyone else was experiencing this.

I also wondered if anyone saw me standing there in Christmas Mickey Mouse pajamas looking totally lost.

But no. There wasn’t a soul around. It was just me.

via Silent Light: In the Stillness of the Morning | Radleigh Valentine

Music Monday: “Light One Candle”

Hi, everyone. Each year during Hanukkah, I post this song on my social media. I was fortunate enough to see Peter, Paul and Mary perform a few years ago, and to meet Peter and Paul after the show (Mary was very ill and was not doing meet-and-greets). Peter came out of the dressing room and made a beeline for me. I don’t know what he saw in me, but the first thing he did was engulf me in an enormous hug that was one of the most heartfelt I’ve ever received. We spent some time talking, and then Peter and Paul signed my stuffed Puff the Magic Dragon. This trio have been among my heroes since childhood, with their commitment to equality and justice. Today, I share their words of hope and love with all of you.