Truth to Tell

Imagining Christmas

What a strange and difficult Christmas this has been! Perhaps most difficult of all is being separated from many of those we love, with whom we normally would gather this year. As the pandemic rages on, we are left to connect with loved ones via phone, Zoom, window visits, or socially distanced outdoor get-togethers. As the song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” reminds us, this year we may only be able to be with loved ones in our dreams – our imaginations. To refresh your memory of the ancient story that holds us all enthrall this time of year, read…

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

It’s the fourth Sunday of Advent, a day that falls pretty much in the middle of my favorite period in the season – the week of the O Antiphons.  The O Antiphons are verses that are sung or chanted at vespers from December 17-23.  They are called the O Antiphons because each of these short verses begins with the word, or letter, O, and addresses Christ by a different title: O Wisdom, O Adonai, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Radiant Dawn, O King of Nations, O Emmanuel.  The hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is based…

Speak Tenderly…

“I’m tired.”  I hear this every day.  I hear it from family caregivers who miss the opportunities for the much needed breaks they once had in the “Before Times” when people could come into their home to relieve them for a few hours.  I hear it from the newly bereaved whose grief is complicated by pandemic-induced social distancing mandates that come at a time when they need to be physically close to those they love.  I hear it from front line health care workers and teachers and therapists and pastors and activists. I hear it from parents who are desperately…

Facing Grief

Our apple tree is losing its leaves. Like Margaret, I’m grieving.  It’s far too early in the season for this to be happening.  Now, it must be said that this thought comes to me every year.  Some of the leaves on this particular tree often start to yellow at the very end of July or early August, their weariness increasing gradually through September until they can no longer hold on and finally, fall to the ground.

But this year seems different.  I can’t explain why; perhaps it’s due to the unusually hot and dry conditions we’ve experienced this summer.  Perhaps this poor tree is still recovering from losing some of its roots three years ago when we renovated our home. Perhaps it’s something else altogether.  Whatever the cause, the annual cycle of growth and decay seems to be accelerated.

Lilac’s Lesson

It’s June and the chervil is in full bloom.  Oh, those delicate white flowers might look harmless enough.  And a single flower may well be of no consequence.  But this noxious weed multiplies quickly and can grow to a stunning six feet.  It fills the field beside my yard.  All I can see behind my falling-down wooden fence is the ragged phalanx of chervil threatening to choke out my beloved fledgling hedge of young lilac bushes. I do everything in my power to tame the floral invader and keep it at bay.  Even so, chaos looms at the edge of…