Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lights

Across traditions and time, there has been a longing for light to brighten the darkness of winter

Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lightsI had a striking visual of light in darkness early one morning this week. A bright light, probably the planet Venus, shone with extraordinary clarity and pierced an otherwise black sky. Given my Christian faith and the time of year – less than a month until Christmas – my thoughts turned to the legendary Star of…

Body image issues begin early

How we can help our children be comfortable and happy in their own skin

Body image issues begin earlyMy five-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter has an eye for fashion. She has her favourite outfits and she is fond of accessories. She likes to wear beads like Granny and my earrings are a source of great interest. It’s all very cute and sweet, but I wonder if I should compliment her less frequently on her attire. I…

Halloween rekindles the child in all of us

There’s nothing inherently evil about the celebration of Halloween in our time

Halloween rekindles the child in all of usIs there any harm in participating in the annual celebration of Halloween? Some think so. I first encountered the opinion that Halloween may be spiritually dangerous when my children were young. I was surprised when a friend announced that her children would not be dressing up and trick-or-treating. She objected to the pagan roots of…

Rituals around death may help us live better

From creepy Halloween graveyard scenes to praying for the dead, our subconscious is trying to gain mastery over our fears about dying

Rituals around death may help us live betterEach year from Halloween on Oct. 31 to All Soul’s Day on Nov. 2, we give death a cultural nod. Does this fulfil some deep-seated need? We don’t have to be historians to recognize that Halloween is connected with death and dying. Just walk around any neighbourhood in the days preceding Halloween and you'll notice…

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?

The pre-Christmas preparation can turn the jolliest of elves into Scrooges

Are you one plum pudding away from a Christmas meltdown?I have a holiday cocktail napkin that reminds me to keep a sense of humour during the busy weeks leading up to Christmas Day. The napkin depicts a spotless 1950’s kitchen where a mother and daughter are preparing to take Christmas dinner out of the oven. The little girl looks excited about the feast ahead,…

Bah, humbug to the war on Christmas

In the interests of diversity and inclusion, society shies away from Christian manifestations of Christmas

Bah, humbug to the war on ChristmasIn the interests of diversity and inclusion, society shies away from Christian manifestations of Christmas. Battles loom over nativity displays, the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting and Christmas trees. Public schools banned carols from school concerts years ago. There is, some argue, a war on Christmas. While some seek to eliminate anything that remotely resembles religious…

Language can calibrate a nation’s moral compass

From Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King to Donald Trump, America offers examples – good and bad – of the power of language

Language can calibrate a nation’s moral compassLanguage is a powerful tool for shaping a society's values. The manner in which a leader uses language can reset the moral compass of a nation. And it can influence, for better or worse, the behaviour of its citizenry. While public discourse in Canada isn’t perfect, it’s reasonably civil. Canadian politicians, though sometimes outspoken and critical…