Advent, week 2: Radical Hospitality

One of my favorite Christmas memories is also one of my hardest. Suffering with cancer, my mom lived four hours away from our home in Maine. That winter and fall I drove back and forth twice a month. It would have been impossible without the kindness of strangers. You see, my mom lived in a cottage at the Willimantic Camp Meeting Association, a historic Christian community in Connecticut. Her neighbors, who were away, offered my family the free use of their house.

Advent, week 1: An intentional Christmas

The first Christmas toy catalog arrived in my mailbox one week before Halloween. Ugh, I thought. Really? I glanced through its glossy pages not to jumpstart my holiday shopping but to confirm precisely what it is I am working to avoid. Excess spending. Excess waste. Excess stress. Each year I strive to be intentional about how our family celebrates Christmas. Often my plans go awry and I go on a last-minute spending blitz, worried that my husband and I haven’t done enough.