This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Tips for a more meaningful Christmas

Plan ahead. Instead of going on autopilot the day after Thanksgiving, hold a family meeting to decide what the group really wants to do and who’s going to do what. A budget/planner is available at http://simpleliving.startlogic. com/information/archives/PDF/AdventBudget.pdf.

Avoid debt. Refuse to be pressured by advertising to overspend.

Avoid stress. Give to yourself. Don’t assume that things have to be the same way they’ve always been.

Draw names rather than everyone giving something to everyone else in your giving circle. Set a ceiling for each recipient. Give children one thing they really want, rather than many gifts.

Give alternative gifts. Give 25 percent of what you spent last year to people in need.

Make changes slowly but persistently. Don’t try to change everything and everybody all at once. The resistance will make you feel defeated and lonely.

Source: Simple Living Works!

tive impact on others, especially in developing countries.” Iversen also recommends turning

to alternative giſt-giving ideas, such as supporting hunger and evange- lism projects with global companion churches through the ELCA Good Giſts program ( goodgiſts). Giving handmade giſts and food

that is consumable or a present that has special meaning is another way to simplify the holiday and continue to care for each other. Kim Winchell, a diaconal minis-

ter at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Saginaw, Mich., likes to give giſts of her nature photography, such as note cards that showcase her photos. People who live simply, she said, are oſten more mindful and notice the little things. Perhaps the best reason for simpli-

fying Christmas comes from Gertrud Mueller Nelson, a Calfornia-based Roman Catholic writer, illustrator and expert on Advent theology. How did she get to be an Advent expert? “By loving it,” she said. Her

Each Sunday during Advent another Advent wreath candle is lit in

preparation for Christmas. The practice reminds people to slow down in anticipa- tion of Christ’s coming.

mother, Terese Mueller, a writer and lecturer, is credited with bringing the tradition of the Advent wreath to the U.S. from her native Germany in the late 1930s. Te four-candle wreath found in

churches and homes, signifying the light of Advent and anticipation of the Savior, is also a simple symbol of slowing down, she said. Te wreath is reminiscent of a wheel, which reminds people to take a wheel off and slow down during Advent. “Te thing to remember,” she said, “is that it’s not a particularly Christian symbol but, in essence, it’s a wheel— a wheel removed.” Nelson said the ancients also used

a wheel removed, not in the reli- gious sense, but to light their homes through the endless darkness of winter. “Tey brought in the hay and the animals, and winter had come; the days getting shorter, darkness ascending,” she said. “Tey brought a wheel off their cart in and lighted it with a torch week aſter week until the solstice came.” Tey waited and

Author bio: Healy is a writer and member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Brewster, N.Y.

watched for spring. “We, in turn, understand

that symbols aren’t just cute things,” she added, “but that the Advent wreath is a sign that we take a wheel off and we look for the light. “As a culture we’re bad

at waiting. We’re used to instant gratification. We hate to wait in line; we hate to wait for paint to dry or for an elevator to come. We find more reasons to be furious and antsy while we wait. We need to find the places where waiting is good— waiting for something wonderful.” Waiting for Christ. 

Harbor of Hospitality Seafarers


In the Ports of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Jersey New York & New England

Immigrants from detention centers in New Jersey & New York

and You in our guest house

Harbor of Hospitality

123 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003 Phone: (212) 677-4800

Book online:

Your patronage supports our mission for seafarers and immigrants. A Mission of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

December 2015 35

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