This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Simply Christmas Sustainable ways to observe, cherish the season


By Wendy Healy I


n Tom Taylor’s house growing up, the Christmas tree went up the day aſter Tanksgiving and came down


only when it was so dry the needles fell off. As a kid, it was exciting to have


the colorful lights and festivities continue for months, but now as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Lindenhurst, N.Y., Taylor empha- sizes the importance of a sim- pler, more religious and less secular focus on Christ- mas. He advises that people celebrate the 12 days of Christ- mas and attend an Epiphany service, which exemplifies


the true mean-


ing of the season. “We try to


simplify the concept so people can focus more on the religious aspects rather


than the secular,” he said. Instead of starting Christmas


Giving handmade gifts, like this pot holder with children’s handprints, challenge Christmas consumerism.


preparations right aſter Tanks- giving, he said, “acknowledge the Advent season and what it means. If you put up a tree early, for example, don’t decorate it until


Christmas Eve. Te secular world thinks that the Christmas season ends on Dec. 26. It doesn’t.” Taylor and his family aren’t the


only ones trying to be more mindful of Christmas as the hectic consum- erism of the season—evident in


34 www.thelutheran.org


‘The secular world thinks that the Christmas


season ends on Dec. 26. It doesn’t.’


stores right aſter Halloween—over- whelms. People are seeking ways to spend less on giſts, eat fewer fattening cookies and, in general, “de-stress” Christmas. Tey’re also seeking to make


Christmas more meaningful and sustainable, said Gerald Iversen, an associate in ministry and founder of Simple Living Works!, a volunteer nonprofit educa- tional organization that advocates for simple living. Iversen has


embraced the concept of simple living and sustain- ability for more than 40 years, since first working with Alternatives for Simple Living, the precursor to Simple Living Works! “Our mission is


to equip people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly [year- round]. Tese three come together


especially at Christmastime,” Iversen said. Simple living also helps us meet


God’s call to care for creation. Te ELCA’s social statement “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice” (www.elca.org/socialstatements) defines this as a call “to pursue justice for creation through active participation, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability, and states the commitments of the ELCA for pursuing wholeness for cre- ation,” Iversen said. Using an artificial tree or assuring that a real one is properly recycled cares for the planet. “Everything


is connected,” he added. “As we in America overspend and overconsume, it has a nega-


KATHRYN BREWER


KATHRYN BREWER


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52