Old Testament

Unwrapping Four Hebrew Words Before Christmas

Unwrapping Four Hebrew Words Before Christmas

In these weeks leading up to December 25, our ears ring with the same worn-out words: presents and trees; decorations and Santa; and, of course, Visa and Amazon Prime. They’re all part of our common cultural vocabulary. We know the definitions and connotations. There’s no need to unwrap them.

Bringing a Heifer to Church: A Different Perspective on Ash Wednesday

Bringing a Heifer to Church: A Different Perspective on Ash Wednesday

In a couple of days, many pastors and priests will stand at the altar holding up a grey thumb, like hitchhikers waiting to ride shotgun with Jesus. It’s Ash Wednesday, A sea of smudged foreheads. Kids smearing black all over themselves, mom and dad, and the back of the pew. All in all, it’s the dirtiest day in the church year.

Why Christmas Is My Favorite Jewish Holiday

Why Christmas Is My Favorite Jewish Holiday

When I taught in Siberia several years ago, I returned home with a box full of Russian dolls to give as Christmas presents. These famous nesting dolls come in various sizes and colors; they depict everyone from politicians to biblical figures. My favorite was the Virgin Mary. Inside her was another smaller Mary, and inside her another, and still many more. I liked the combination of elaborate colors on this particular doll, but even more I liked the symbolism inherent in the nesting design.