My last column for the Dutch newspaper Reformatorisch Dagblad (”Reformed Daily”) is now posted online, at http://www.refdag.nl. I have been writing monthly columns for their weekend English-language page for a year and a half, but I decided it was time to take on something new. I have limited time for these regular journalistic assignments, and I have agreed to be a panelist for a new webpage “On Faith,” sponsored by Newsweek and the Washington Post. For this endeavor, a group of us–representing various religious traditions–are sent a question every Monday, and if we choose to answer it (we must do at least one a month), we send our commentary in on Tuesday and it is posted on Wednesday.
I did not answer the question posted December 4, on how to explain one’s celebration of religious holidays to children in a interfaith marriage. But I did enjoy some of the commentaries that others posted. My favorite is Susan Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary, at http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com. She tells a wonderful Christmas story, that I will simply repeat here with the counsel that it is worth some Advent reflection. Many years ago she was preaching a children’s sermon, and she asked the kids what the difference is between Jesus and Santa Claus. Her son, Billy, four years old at the time, piped up with an answer: “Jesus will forgive you, but Santa Claus never will!”