Airline passenger thrown off plane after angry reaction to “Merry Christmas”

AA jetliner image from Wikimedia Commons

  I wouldn't be surprised if there's a law suit brewing over this, but I would have joined in the applause, too:   … [Read more...]

“There is hope in every dawning”

An image -- trust me! -- from Wikimedia Commons

  Christina Lyon Maughan, who has herself had a rough year and a rough Christmas season, brought the lyrics of this song by Sally Deford to my attention.  (I haven't located a recording of it yet that I can use here.) I share them here for all those -- myself among them -- who, amid the fun and the spectacle and the music and the gifts and the family celebrations of Christmas, still acutely feel the absence of departed loved ones. This is what r … [Read more...]

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...]