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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Finding peace during the holidays


I don’t know about you, but I was hoping to find some time to breathe after the election season. But it seemed like as soon as the negative political ads finally ended, the overly cheerful holiday commercials commenced–with their effervescent jingles, chirpy actors and bright colors. Perhaps the merry ads should be the antidote to those attack ads, but they had the same effect on me: made me reach for the remote.

The ads just reminded me that the holiday season is often filled with anxiety–it all comes from a good place. I want to make the season as magical as I can for my family. But that magic usually comes with a price–by Christmas Eve, I’m usually too exhausted to even think about the late-night church service I love.

This year, I’m working on a religion story about that very thing–how can we remain spiritual throughout all the busyness and commercialism of the holidays. I’d love to talk with area residents who struggle with this very thing–and those who have found good solutions for staying spiritual during this time of year. I know there are people who eschew the shopping and partying all together–and I’d love to talk with them. But I’m also very interested in chatting with people who’ve been able to find a way to balance it all.

So please, get in touch. Email: Phone: 540/735-1973. Twitter: @aumble.