Forgotten Treasures

But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.

― C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

snowedinOf all the children’s picture books we have read or reviewed for our yearly  Best of the Best, none stands out more dearly to me this time of the year than a tale about a family in the early 20th century in the American Wild West. They settled in one of the most desolate regions of the West, the open, wind-swept prairies of Wyoming, and the story opens with their yearly ritual at the onset of winter: saying goodbye to their community schoolhouse, buying gobs of paper and pencils at the town store, and raiding the local library for pounds of books to last them through the isolating months ahead of closed roads and home-bound activity. Continue reading

The Feast of Faith

kidsiconOne of the most awkward moments in my life happened the first time I visited an Orthodox Church. I came armed with my trusty notebook containing all the biblical questions I was prepared to hurl at anyone who might ask. From my infancy, I had known the Holy Scriptures which were intended to make me wise unto salvation; at that point in my life, however, they served more to puff up my ego. I thought I was prepared for any question about my faith, to give a defense in the form of words. What I was NOT prepared for was an argument in the form of images, a faith in the form of a divine feast, and a challenger in the form and substance of a little child. While I stood through the beautifully festive service with my notebook of interrogations, a wordless boy of not more than three next to me gazed upward in silent wonder at an icon of a saint. I put away my notebook and realized quickly that this babe was getting something that I was missing: wonder in the face of something or rather Someone much larger than my feeble intellect. Continue reading

Christmas Kitsch

Okay, I will admit it. I am a sucker for Christmas decoration in whatever form it takes. I am one of those crazy papas that likes to drive around the neighborhood with his children on Christmas Eve looking at everyone else’s Christmas Kitsch. Below is something I found online: a church which seems to share my enthusiasm for the rich diversity of this season. St. Andrew’s in Ayer, MA is currently host to 450 nativity scenes from around the world. Enjoy the press release, and watch their video below. Happy Christmas and joyous preparation for the upcoming feast of our Lord’s birth in Bethlehem!

Acquainted With Grief

November 15/28, 2015
Commencement of Advent & the Nativity Fast

nativityThat most wonderful time of the year is again upon us, but what truly makes it sparkle with wonder? As millions of refugees worldwide flee their homelands looking for a place to lay their heads, it is important for us to remember the humble and destitute circumstances chosen by the Lord of Glory for His first Advent into the world. For this reason and many others pertaining to our salvation, the Church has designed these several weeks leading up to our Lord’s Nativity in human flesh to be a time of fasting and increased prayer. But in the rush to hunt down gifts for every person on the planet and attend every holiday party offered, it is easy to forget our eternal destiny and the place where true life can be found. So where can a weary shopper go, besides church, to pray more, shop less, and truly wonder at the condescension of our God? Continue reading

The Charity of Charles Dickens

Just finished Dicken’s Great Expectations with our older girls as an evening read aloud, a project which has lasted two years for us. It is hard to have patience in our age of soundbites with an author who was paid by the word and often seemed to multiply characters needlessly. But any reader who has spent time with his tomes and become acquainted with his universe of characters knows the power they have of teaching charity and a host of other virtues to hearts grown cold with indifference and self-centeredness. Continue reading