28 Comments

Wow! What perfect timing! I just spent two hours on the phone with my adult son who wants so much to believe but is also afraid to because of what he thinks God will ask of him. Despite how many witnesses, miracles and revelations each of us has to go through our own Thomas doubt. I love the donkey story 😊

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Dec 2, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

Wow- this was packed full of so much great information! So timely/interesting too because we are currently considering "Thomas" as a middle name for our son (due next year!) and I have been trying to learn more about him! <3

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Dec 2, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

All new info to me looking forward to more! Any excuse to bring up talking donkeys count me in, though Balaam’s ass is the star of the show 🫏

Nothing like a salty donkey!

Hoping the potential flood next week doesn’t cause too much damage 🫣 !!

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Beautiful writing, research and message (as always!) Besides Thomas, I always look forward to the feast of St. Lucia (my mother was Swedish and German) I think it’s so moving! Bringing the light into the darkness ✨💫

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Dec 2, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

Great post! My dear son is named after Thomas. I am looking forward to what else you have in store about this, as I’m still learning the traditions of this feast day and would like to incorporate them into my own life.

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Kristin, you are a modern day historian who never ceases to amaze me. This parallel betw. Thomas and the Winter Solstice gave me much to think about:

"When we encounter the layers of story & custom surrounding St. Thomas on his Winter Solstice feast day, we witness echoes everywhere: the longest night of the year has arrived, and, like the stages of disbelief endured in Thomas and in our own struggling hearts, that long night will be broken by a patiently lengthening sunlight."

Also......... n o w I know why there's a donkey in your watercoloring wonders. Delightful!

This non liturgical church person thanks you.

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Dec 1, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

This is fascinating, Kristin! I never knew about St. Thomas's December feast. It's in July in our tradition. You explain really well here how the stories of St. Thomas fit well at the Solstice and leading up to Christmas. I think I'll add in Thomasmas to our Advent devotions this year. Fits well with a mental track I've been following on holding doubt and belief in tandem... Thanks, as always, for your research!

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So glad I finally made found the time to read this! Kristin, you've put together yet another strikingly beautiful and educational article. I love the notion of unseen work being done in the dark that will eventually be brought to the light, all the while being nourished and grown by God. Much like the doubting of St.Thomas. This was just lovely.

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Kristin...I'm so behind in my Substack reading, I apologize for getting to this so late! It is a wonderful essay. I think it is my favorite essay of yours so far...and I am so delighted to learn about the donkeys.

There are a number of beliefs among the Pennsylvania Germans centered around talking barnyard animals at midnight on Christmas Eve and the unique individuals who are blessed w/ the ability to 'hear' and 'comprehend' them. Your essay has me digging into my books...I'm thinking this belief must absolutely stem from the story of a wild donkey who spoke! Love this so much.♡

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I am your dirt metaphor target audience.

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I had substack “read” this to me on a long drive through such heavy fog I could barely see the trees alongside the highway. It felt oddly appropriate for kicking off advent - the world shrouding itself in silence. On another note, my husband likes to call Thomas “forensic Thomas” (he learned it from someone but I forget who) because of his inclinations toward seeking our empirical evidence. In another setting, such inclinations might be correct- it’s interesting food for thought how the proper rational response that we may have curated so carefully especially in this day and age of people muddying the waters of truth...can still hide the truth from us.

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Dec 2, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson

Thank you. I love learning these old stories and rhymes and your writing is just lovely.

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deletedDec 2, 2023Liked by Kristin Haakenson
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