Is Apple’s 12 Days of Gifts Blurring Our Vision of Epiphany?

“[F]or me the meaning of life is centered in our Redemption by Christ and what I see in the world I see in relation to that.” -- Flannery O’Connor Apple brought a new holiday promotion to America this past Christmas season that it’s run overseas for several years: a 12 Days of Gifts app that offered one freebie a day from December 26 through January 6. These giveaways, like the litany of gifts from the promotion’s Christmas carol inspiration, had no coherent theme, ranging in medium from music t … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolutions as an “Expectation of Faith”

If I had to take a guess, New Year’s would not have been the Teacher’s favorite holiday: All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this … [Read more...]

Why You Should Lay Off the “Santa Claus is Real” Stuff (Because He’s Not)

Santa Claus is such a troublemaker these days. He's been stirring up all kinds of debate among evangelicals these days over whether it's right for Christians to allow and encourage their kids to believe in Santa Claus. On the one hand, you have folks like John Piper, who thinks Santa Claus is unnecessary and a poor imitation of the real Gift-Giver, Jesus, and Matt Walsh, who thinks Santa is a lie. On the other hand, there's my CAPC colleague S.L. Whitesell, who thinks we should believe in Santa a … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: 5 Christmas Country Songs That Aren’t Awful

As much as I love Country music—even the bad stuff—when Christmas comes around, Country music seems to spit out some really bad tracks (it’s not that I don’t think Alan Jackon’s Christmas album isn’t very good it’s just… okay, it’s exactly that). But I want you know that it doesn’t have to be this way! There is some wonderful Christmas music that has that high and lonesome sound—you’ve just got to look for it.Christmas albums are by nature somewhat stale. It takes real talent to make a beauti … [Read more...]

Have You Misunderstood Apple’s New Holiday Commercial?

Earlier this week, Apple released a holiday commercial featuring their iPhone. Titled "Misunderstood," it follows a teenager who's been dragged along to the big family Christmas. While his family enjoys their time together (baking cookies, sledding, etc.), he stares at his iPhone. He's occasionally cajoled into participating, but he quickly returns to staring at that Retina display, seemingly oblivious to everything, and everyone, around him. Until Christmas morning, that is, when he... well, … [Read more...]

Christmas Can Make It Hard to Remember That ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

I try to catch a glimpse of the classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life every year. I rarely get to watch the entire film, but I usually watch the scene that most closely reflects my feelings about Christmas. No, it’s not the end where everyone is singing “Auld Lang Syne” and proclaiming George Bailey to be the richest man in town. Nor is it the scene where the tinkling bell means Clarence got his angel’s wings. That’s a nice touch to the story, muddy angelology notwithstanding. The scene I … [Read more...]

I Want to Give You a Snopes Detector for Christmas

I have a gift. It isn't really a supernatural gift so much as a talent I've learned after many years of internet surfing. It's the ability to spot nonsense when it's posted on Facebook or sent to me in an email. I'd assumed that this was a talent that everyone with any amount of internet experience would have, but I've recently realized that this really is a gift that not everyone, or even a majority of people possesses. The lack of this gift of discernment is the only thing that explains why … [Read more...]

Page CXVI’s Christmas Album Helped Me Channel the Spirit of Advent

Just as I have for the last few years on Black Friday, as others flitted about catching deals (and still others Jesus-juked them online), I began my spiritual discipline for Advent: listening to Christmas music. It started one year when I noticed that Christmas came and went without much of a fuss in my life. Of course I knew it was important. I probably understood it better on a spiritual level than I ever had. Still, the real experience of the season—preparing my heart, slowing down, and dwe … [Read more...]

Popular Science Disproves Virgin Birth with #SCIENCE!!!

Popular Science wants you to know that a human virgin birth (or, more properly 'virginal conception', not 'immaculate conception', which is something entirely different) is pretty impossible. While "parthenogenesis" has been known to happen in non-mammalian species, there are a couple of obstacles to that happening for us: So what stands in the way? First, a mammal’s egg cell usually won’t divide until it receives a signal from the sperm. Second, most mammalian eggs have only half the number of … [Read more...]

I am George Bailey: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and Obsession With Personal Achievement

 I am George Bailey.Well, at least that's what my wife tells me whenever we watch It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra’s classic film that has turned into the Christmas film. If you haven’t seen it (seriously?), it is a story about George Bailey, a man with big dreams stuck in a small town that he just can’t seem to escape.Every time I watch it, I cry. Not just at the climatic parts, but throughout the entire film. Start to finish. Heck, last night my wife and I went to see it at o … [Read more...]