Last-minute shoppers, take heart - you still have time to order great gifts online for the Episcopalian on your Christmas list (and anyone who might appreciate a bit of sacred inspiration). A few suggestions:
-- Anne Lamott's terrific new book, "Help, Thanks, Wow; The Three Essential Prayers." $10.25 at Amazon.com.
-- Bath and body products from Thistle Farms. Proceeds support Magdelene, a residential program in Nashville for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.
-- No matter what your loved one's passion may be, you can find a book just right for him or her in Sky Light Paths Publishing's "Art of Spiritual Living" series. Titles include "The Sacred Art of Running," "The Sacred Art of Chant;" "Dance, the Sacred Art;" "Writing, the Sacred Art," and other books on such topics as fly fishing, Haiku, growing herbs -- the list goes on and on.
-- Buying Beads for Life jewelry helps "eradicate extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens." These colorful (and reasonably inexpensive) bracelets, necklaces and earrings make great stocking stuffers, all for a good cause.
-- For children and adults, Episcopal Booksellers recommends "The Twelve Gifts of Birth," a wonderful story by Charlene Costanzo about the blessings of life.
-- My own little granddaughter will be receiving a copy of "The Genesis of It All," by Luci Shaw, illustrated by Sisters Huai Kuang Miao and Mary Lane, a beautiful retelling of the creation story that captures the imagination, and pauses more than once to wisely note about the world's origins: "We don't know how it happened. We weren't there to see."
-- St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sioux City, Iowa (home to our own Cafe news blogger the Rev. Torey Lightcap!) offers Hazel's Own St. Thomas Toffee. A box of this delectable chocolate pecan candy is just $10 plus shipping.
-- And of course, Episcopal Relief & Development offers Gifts for Life, to make the world a better place. Give the gift of livestock, clean water, disaster relief and more to a needy family, in honor of someone you love.
-- Also available through ER-D, Bishop's Blend coffee and tea.
-- Anglican prayer beads, from Full Circle Beads, make a beautiful gift. For an additional $7.95, you can also purchase Lynn Bauman's helpful book "The Anglican Rosary."
-- Men on my list are tough to shop for. So I was happy to pick up several copies of a beautiful paperback for them: "The Hand of God,Thoughts and Images Reflecting the Spirit of the Universe." It features gorgeous images taken in outer space, and inspiring quotes on creation from a range of writers, including Annie Dillard, Stephen Hawking, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, King David and more.
Anyone have other inspirational gift ideas to share? (Oh, and in case you're feeling under the gun with Dec. 25 right around the corner, remember, Christmas really lasts until Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany! So take a deep breath and enjoy these last days of the Advent season, in peace.)