The Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem

Nativity image from Wikimedia Commons

   The first Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem was begun by St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, in AD 333 as part of an overall building program launched in the aftermath of the great Nicene Council -- a program of construction that also included Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Built above the complex of caves in which Jesus is traditionally believed to have been born, the Basilica was completed in AD 337. Unfortunately, t … [Read more...]

A “Music of Christmas” Supercollection

Winter in Zion

  My gifted friend Will Schryver has assembled a collection of some of his favorite Christmas music.  You can access it here: You need to actually download the collection in order to listen to the music. Two of the thirty-three pieces -- Jesus, Once of Humble Birth and the Greensleeves Medley -- are his own arrangements.   … [Read more...]

“One of us”

Three Sharecroppers, by Walker Evans

  Responding to my Deseret News column of this morning, Ray Agostini reminds me of a 1995 hit song by Joan Osborne.  Don't worry; the voice that begins the clip isn't the voice in which she sings the rest of the song:  If God had a name what would it be? And would you call it to His face? If you were faced with Him in all His glory What would you ask if you had just one question? And yeah, yeah God is … [Read more...]

New Testament 12

A Tissot in the Brooklyn Museum of Art

  Luke 2:41-52 A miscellaneous sampling of brief comments about today's little passage of scripture: In the accounts thus far, we've read of extraordinary events surrounding Jesus.  In today's reading, though, we're given a hint, for the first time, of extraordinary qualities within the child himself:  At the age of twelve, he spends three days in the Temple, sitting among the teachers there, "listening to them and asking them questions; and all w … [Read more...]

“He was the Son of God, and ‘one of us’”

Vom Meister der Palastkapelle in Palermo, Sizilien

  My Deseret News Christmas column for 2014 was published this morning: I wish you all a wonderful day!   … [Read more...]

The darkness and chillness of Christmas

Wikimedia Commons

  Christmas hath a darknessBrighter than the blazing noon;Christmas hath a chillnessWarmer than the heat of June;Christmas hath a beautyLovelier than the world can show:For Christmas bringeth Jesus,Brought for us so low.(Christina Rossetti [d. 1894])   … [Read more...]

Christmas greeting

It's from Wikimedia Commons, of course!

  I would like to wish everybody out there a wonderful, joyous Christmas. For those who abominate religious faith and loathe Christmas -- such people exist; I've encountered a few of them personally -- I wish you a reasonably decent Thursday.  Posted from Bountiful, Utah    … [Read more...]

On the eve of Christ’s nativity

the star of the Magi

  Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. 3 Nephi 1:13   Posted from Bountiful, Utah   … [Read more...]