Although the iconic Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog and its Christmas companion, the Sears Wish Book, are relics of a bygone age, the well-loved tradition of families poring over every one of its colorful pages in search of the perfect gift lives on in the Presbyterian Giving Catalog.
In a time of war, it’s hard to believe in a night where all can be calm and bright — let alone holy. But for the German and English troops hunkering in the muddy trenches on the Western Front during World War I, a miracle occurred.
In our church’s social media posts, we’ve noticed a trend: The single, static photo is declining in effectiveness compared to short video clips. Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) has been pushing “Reels,” which are videos less than 90 seconds long. There are two considerations in creating these Reels — technical aspects and content.
Most of us look forward to decorating our homes and seeing family for the holidays, even if that can be stressful at times. The season of joy can evoke powerful feelings, even under the best circumstances. But for those who have lost a loved one, the holidays can be even more difficult — especially if it is “the first holiday without … .”
When I began writing this column, I talked about how the community garden I manage led me to bemoan the word “charity.” I soon realized that I was not alone in this. More churches seem to be moving away from charity models, reorienting themselves to justice models.
Sunday morning worship was long over with, yet the sanctuary at First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, Florida, was filled with activity. Musicians setting their music stands at the right height. Singers warming up their vocal cords. Ushers greeting those who came for what would be an inspiring afternoon of a community showing their “Love in Action.”
In the 1922 children’s classic “The Velveteen Rabbit,” Margery Williams tells the story of a stuffed rabbit who desperately wants to be real. Snuggled in a little boy’s Christmas stocking, the toy seems to be the most wonderful gift ever. That’s until it notices the mechanical toys under the tree. Feeling inadequate, the rabbit asks the oldest toy in the nursery named “Skin Horse” — because all its fur had been hugged off — “What is real?” And with that, the rabbit’s adventure begins.
A century has gone by since the book’s debut, but the message is still relevant today — perhaps even more so in an age of social media facades.
Samuel Polanco is no stranger to the power of walls — especially their potential to exclude and keep people like him from being their best selves. But the 2022 graduate of the Menaul School — a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related college preparatory school in Albuquerque, New Mexico — credits his educational experience as being instrumental in breaking down many barriers.
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” — Luke 23:42