December 28th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
My Christmas tree is a fire hazard.
I look at it and simultaneously have two thoughts: "Oh, you are so lovely with your twinkling lights," and "Please don't kill us all."
I suppose that is what I get for buying a live tree right after Thanksgiving. My children picked it out, and when I pointed out the brown bits on a branch, they carelessly brushed my concerns aside.
I asked the tree lot manager, "Is this tree dying?"
"Lady," he replied brusquely, "this tree's been dying since it was cut."
I was not appeased. And then he said the magic words, "But I'll give you 50% off."
December 27th, 2021 by Carl Buffington
December 18th, 2021 by Vance Browning
Decades ago a Jamaican work colleague gave me a gift. I don’t remember if it was something wrapped with a bow or simply a compliment.
I responded by saying, “No, you shouldn’t have,” or something to the effect of saying that I really didn’t need it or deserve it.
What I remember distinctly is his reply. He said, “You Americans, you don’t know how to receive a gift!”
I had insulted him. It was just a cultural difference, but it got me thinking. I intended to convey humility, but to him, it was arrogance and rejection.
December 10th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
The weekend after Thanksgiving my husband pulled down our "four boxes of Christmas" from the garage shelf. Storage is limited in our house, so we have gone a bit minimal when it comes to Christmas decor.
We also have a live tree. I'd like to tell you it's because we like the look and smell of live trees (and this may be true for everyone else in my family), but my main reason is that we don't have to store it January through November. Plus, we save it for kindling in our outdoor fireplace; it burns like flash paper (which is a little unsettling, I must say).
So over the years we have whittled Christmas down to four boxes. One box holds the Nativity set. One box holds the Carollers. One box holds the ornaments. And the last box holds the lights and the tree skirt.
We untangle the colored lights for the tree (yes, we are a colored light family), and then we untangle the white lights for the porch. They are the worst.
But the lights are also magic.
December 7th, 2021 by Dr. Larry Selig
Every Advent, our church in Pittsburgh held an outreach for the children and families in the community to explain the real meaning of Christmas.
Up to 7,000 children and adults came each year during the four days we called “The Joy of Sharing Christmas.” Tour guides led groups of 25-35 through a series of rooms where live actors in costume would share the REAL Christmas story.
So what does the real Christmas story look like?
December 1st, 2021 by Barb Buffington
The lights are up, the sparkly ads are on TV, the Christmas carols are playing. YES! The holiday season is here! The Most Wonderful Time of Year, Jingle Bells and Oh What Fun, Holly Jolly Christmas, and you know so many songs that tout the happiness of the season and the lightness and brightness of it all…
When I was about 10 years old, my mom took me to the eye doctor. I thought it was a waste of her time, energy, and money, all of which were hard to come by with a husband, 7 children and a full-time job. My sight was fine, or so I thought! Well, if you have known me for any time at all, you know I wear glasses, and have since
And, to my surprise, with glasses and the prescription lenses, everything was sharper, crisper, clearer and I could see so much further! My world expanded into one I had not ever known!