Celebrating Spiritual Holidays in Non-Traditional Ways



The joy of Christmas is that it is meant to be shared. Through years of tradition, we celebrate the “gift of God’s Son to the earth” through gift giving. But there are many ways to share this happiness besides through the exchange of presents and gifts. In fact, most of today’s practices are self-centered starting with the making of lists for a generous benefactor known as Saint Nicholas.

Our secular culture has pivoted from a Holy holiday in celebration of the birth of Christ our Savior and Redeemer to a festive giving and receiving of gifts for ourselves and others. If we don’t like what we get, we exchange it for something we do like, blowing off the giver’s generosity and forethought.


Through centuries of change and to the forgetting of God, people are slowly transforming our once Holy and spiritual rejoicing into one of indulgence, over spending and indebtedness. Instead of joy we are sated with exhaustion and bills; far cries from joy and praise for our newborn King.

Some have managed to save and revere His Holy presence in spite of the commercialization. Many are finding gladness and purpose by serving in local “soup kitchens” and pantries or through donations of gifts and toys to the needy.

But as one local family, on the receiving end, lamented “We are surrounded with gifts and food during the Christmas Season, but the rest of the year we really struggle!”


Perhaps extending your well-placed joy into the New Year would make your efforts more lasting and meaningful. Everyone wants to give when the spirit touches them, but thoughtfulness and giving throughout the year could make a real difference in someone’s life.

Shut-ins receive visits and gifts during December; but the other 365 days, they may spend a lot of lonely hours when the phone doesn’t ring or visitors are few and far between. Commitment and remembrances could warm these empty days and months and remind those who weep that they are loved and needed. Even those we don’t know can benefit from a hug or an extended hand when it is least expected.


“He Lives” 20 x 16 Oil on canvas

One year our family had a child from a local boy’s home share two weeks of the Christmas Season with us. The home was closing for the holidays and needed places for these boys to go. We enjoyed his time with us, but I felt guilty when he left, and wondered if there was something more we could do? I had four children younger than he, one of them a newborn, and the timing wasn’t right for us. There is more need in this world than any of us can stop alone or together.

Our oldest son painted someone’s house as an Eagle Scout project with his fellow scouts. The mother had recently been in an accident, and the family was greatly in need. Their project was a welcome treat for the family, even though it didn’t come at Christmas time. Imagine what this kind of giving could mean as a Christmas gift; better yet that it came as a surprise when it was most needed.

We often invited widows and widowers into our home, not only on special occasions, but during the holidays. Not able to cook for themselves, these invitations meant a great deal to alleviate their loneliness. A short ride to see Christmas lights and decorations on the way home was a special delight.


We also used to take widows out to lunch or dinner with us. It was a special treat for them to get out and mingle. They especially loved holding on to my husband’s arm and the feeling of being escorted by a man. I used to place them in the front seat of our car, while I slipped into the back just so they could feel special for that one day. Sometimes we’d go on an excursion and take them to places they hadn’t been in a long, long while.

It is also important not only to be a gracious giver, but a gracious receiver. Some of these elderly sweethearts wanted to reciprocate because the attention meant so much to them. Declining on our part seemed that we looked on our gift as “charity.”  When we allowed them to give in return, you could see by the gleam in their eyes that this was as important to them as our gift had been.

Many days, we returned home with a fresh baked loaf of bread, some cookies, a special treasure from their home in remembrance of time spent in our company. Some of these widows are gone now, but the memories linger on. In hind sight, they still warm our hearts today.

Going beyond and engaging in the unusual or unexpected can create the kind of Christmas that goes on forever in the minds and souls of the people you surprise. Who knows, perhaps you’re entertaining angels unawares?

This Generation is Floundering against all Odds



When I was growing up we knew right from wrong, at least in our own household. Our “standards” were expected to be kept even when we were away from home. These values were black and white. You didn’t steal other people’s property. You worked hard to get what you wanted. You didn’t cheat on a test or in a game. You told the truth or you suffered the consequences. Your word was your bond. My sisters and I headed into the future grounded by a strong foundation and internal principles.

By the time my own children were in public school, these absolute truths were changed and disavowed. All of a sudden values were different for different folks. What one person valued may be another person’s nemesis. Truth became personal and more difficult to define. There were flexible rules and a stigma placed upon thousands of years of proven behavior. There was no foundation to rest upon except in the empty churches that were diminishing in number.


Traditions were frowned upon, unless they were just for fun or to draw people together. History was mocked, defamed, and changed. The people of the past were no longer revered and remembered. Their principles were considered out of date and old fashioned. Documents and books that had served us well in the past were now ignored and efforts were made to alter them or abolish them altogether.

People who in former days would have turned to God for strength began to turn to substance abuse and addiction to get them through. The unprincipled and the unbelievers hearkened to the loudest and most popular voices for information and guidance. What happened was a total upheaval of the infrastructure that had kept society in check.


The educational system celebrated their new-found freedom to bend and manipulate young minds. What they reaped we now experience as we watch America’s value system and Constitutional principles crumble around us. The future is unknown and terrifying. Those who believe in the Bible, the Word of God, see it as fulfillment of Prophecy. Every chapter, every verse leads up to these perilous and predicted times.

The hand writing is on the wall. When you ignore your past moorings, you are doomed to failure. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His unchanging Word speaks to our hearts in this present day. Without faith we can do nothing.

We are living in a time of confusion and apostasy. By trusting in our own made up priorities and values, we cut off the source of all truth. In our arrogance, we figuratively trust in the arm of weak flesh. We put our faith in dead idols that can neither hear us nor see us. We light candles to unknown Gods and are consumed with our own lusts. We have become a degenerate nation filled with our own self-importance and intellectual prowess.


I for one like the winds of change I see ahead of us. There is still hope in America if we turn our hearts away from vain pride and evil corruption. Let us open our hearts and minds to things eternal. Our choices define us. Our choices will also condemn us if we fall from the Grace that is offered to us freely and lovingly. It is never too late to come home to the Father and God who made us all.


Is Truth Uncertain and Precarious or is it an Absolute Certainty?

Sea Swirls

“Sea Swirls” 24 x 18 acrylic on wrapped canvas

Like me, you may still be in shock at the mass shooting in Orlando. Another terrorist decided who should live and who would die. He played judge and jury using a twisted ideology that believes in a God who commands his followers to maim and murder in order to prove their devotion to him.

Faith is a precious thing when it’s focused on truth and goodness. Whether you’re a non-believer or a doubter, just because you have an opinion or a belief in something doesn’t make it true. Truth is based on evidence, the testimony of others, and recorded history. Faith is a personal witness that confirms the truth in one’s heart. The evidence of faith is a changed life. Yes, I know. It’s complicated.

One young man who wanted to help in the chaos of Sunday’s massacre said it best. “I saw this guy who had just come out of the Club. He was in shock and injured. I told him I wanted to help. Although, I’m not a religious person, I felt like praying for him. I asked God to bless him that he would be all right.”

Sea Nymph.JPG

“Sea Nymph” 24 x 18 acrylic on wrapped canvas

It is natural to turn to our creator, father and God in times of need. How sad that we wait for an emergency or death to talk to Him in prayer. Imagine the tragedies that could be averted if we would stay connected to our source of strength. What a difference this could make in our chaotic and dangerous world.

Like those people who were shot and killed, their lives snuffed out in an instant, you never know when your time will come. Whether you believe in God or not has nothing to do with the actual facts. You will meet God face to face when your life ends. Will you be ashamed, afraid, or filled with joy?

We each have only one life to live. We don’t get a “do-over” or a second chance. This is it!  If you knew for certain that there is a God and that He loves you completely and unconditionally, would that change the way you live and behave toward others? Would you rather believe in a God of forgiveness and love than a God who is pleased when you murder anyone who doesn’t think or act the way you do?

The mass shooting was horrific and senseless. Perhaps it will jar the rest of us from our complacency. Life is precious. We should not waste a moment of it or allow arrogance or pride to convince us that we have all the answers.

You can believe in a purple hippopotamus if you want to, or behave in unspeakable and hateful ways, but that doesn’t make your way of life or your faith true. If you choose, you can follow the majority to your death. You can follow a way of life because “everybody else is doing it;” but that doesn’t make it right or true.

Like the young man outside the club who felt compelled to pray for the injured gay bartender, even though he’d probably never done it before and wasn’t sure to whom he was praying. The “God of heaven and earth and all things that in them are” called out to him and would gather all of us “under His wings” if we but  believed on his name and hungered for his truth and righteousness.

Sea Breeze

“Sea Breeze” 30 x 24 on wrapped canvas

Truth is not relative as some would have you believe. Truth is absolute and certain, and only comes from the God of truth and love when you are prepared to receive him. You must seek truth and listen in earnest for the whisperings of God’s Holy Spirit.

You and I are not called to judge or to bring condemnation to others. It is for us to heal the brokenhearted, bring comfort to those who are hurting, and leave the rest in God’s hands.