holiday dinner

The Pull of the Holidays

By Julie Walsh | November 20, 2023

When I think about the upcoming holidays, my mind’s eye sees all the magazine-cover images: tables set for six or eight or twelve. They’re laid out with the good china, the crystal, the candlesticks, and table décor. They’re heaped with glistening turkeys, vegetables you’ve never heard of, and pies so beautiful they could be décor,…

orange cutout Christmas ornament of a deer sits on a shelf

Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season

By Meta Herrick Carlson | October 20, 2023

Perhaps you are a planner and October doesn’t seem too early to start talking about the Christmas season. You’re already formatting your Christmas card picture, booking travel plans, or deciding which days you’ll take PTO and which days you’ll “work from home” while kids are around on winter break from school.  I’m not very proactive…

pray through Christmas

3 Ways to Pray through Christmas

By Laura Kelly Fanucci | December 30, 2022

1. Pray with Luke 2:41-52 that inspired Anna’s essay. What word or phrase speaks to you as a parent here? Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started…

Christmas Is For You

Christmas Is For You

By Tasha Jun | December 28, 2022

For the ones who are hollow inside cracked and cavernous dusty and dried void of vision and voice wrestling to find light to rejoice Remember: God came near Not only next-door neighbor near No, even nearer He moved into a woman’s womb her heartbeat, his song her breath, his movement No matter what they say…

Advent prayers parents love

Advent Prayers for Overwhelmed Parents: Love

By Laura Kelly Fanucci | December 21, 2022

God of love, You came to us within a family. You know how hard family life can be. This season when we gather with relatives, Especially those we don’t see often, Be with us through our challenges and conflicts. We give You all the hard things we cannot carry alone: Grief and grudges. Disappointment and…

Advent prayers parents

Advent Prayers for Overwhelmed Parents: Joy

By Laura Kelly Fanucci | December 14, 2022

God of joy, This can be a heavy time of year for our mental health. For many of us, the world outside grows cold and dark. The sun sets early. The wind blows hard. Our minds and bodies suffer From the lack of light and shorter days. We were already struggling, but now everything feels…

Advent prayers parents

Advent Prayers for Overwhelmed Parents: Peace

By Laura Kelly Fanucci | December 7, 2022

God of peace, We’ve done it again. We’ve crammed our calendar full to bursting. We don’t know how we’ll get it all done. December is packed with Parties, plays, and performances, Christmas concerts and celebrations At school and church and work And everywhere in between— Shopping, planning, decorating, baking, Prepping, giving, buying, wrapping, Doing, doing,…

Advent for overwhelmed parents

Advent Prayers for Overwhelmed Parents: Hope

By Laura Kelly Fanucci | November 30, 2022

God of hope, Help us in this season of stress, This beautiful time of year that Can bring added burdens. Less money, more expenses, increased anxiety, Christmas coming right around the corner— Everything feels overwhelming right now. For rising costs and mounting bills. For Christmas lists and year-end deadlines. For groceries and gas and everything…

the first Christmas

The Day After The First Christmas

By Laura Kelly Fanucci | December 26, 2014

Here she is, only a day into motherhood. Her hands trying to figure out how to feed her crying newborn, human as he is. Maybe she has help from midwives who took pity on a poor girl far from home, no kinswoman of her own to care for her. Or maybe she feels so alone that her…

statue of pregnant Mary

Mary of the Third Trimester

By Laura Kelly Fanucci | December 5, 2012

I wonder how she felt in the final weeks. Whether she was tired of carrying, exhausted from the extra weight and the swollen ankles and the restless nights and the ceaseless kicks. Or whether she loved wondering about the mystery of this babe, watching the strange, sudden stretch of skin across her stomach, limbs pushing…