Best Christmas meme

This popped up on my Facebook feed this morning. [Read more…]

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A beggar before the baby: a preview of the Vatican’s Nativity scene

Unsurprisingly, it has a decidedly Franciscan (as in the pope) approach. From those crackerjack journos at CNS: The Vatican’s Nativity scene will be unveiled tomorrow evening, but Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples and the artists who created the scene gave a sneak preview to journalists today. Well, we were able to see most of it. [Read More…]

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Coexist: Nativity scene and atheist sign share space in public park

From the Arlington Heights Daily Herald in Illinois: A year after controversy in Arlington Heights about whether to allow a Nativity scene on public property, both the Nativity and a sign with views against religion are coexisting — mainly peacefully — in North School Park this holiday season. The Nativity scene, paid for by Jim [Read More…]

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Students perform “Silent Night”—but without religious references

It happened on Long Island last week. Unreal:  A Kings Park parent is not keeping silent being offended by the school chorus’s rendition of holiday carol “Silent Night.” Kevin McDonald said Kings Park school teachers removed all religious references from the lyrics of “Silent Night” to avoid offending non-Christians at a fifth-grade concert held at Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate [Read More…]

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Happy Holidays: only half of Americans see Christmas as a religious holiday

Details from HuffPo:  As the center of the biggest commercial season in the U.S., it’s no surprise that a majority of Americans — Christian or not — observe Christmas. But a new survey shows that while nine in 10 Americans take part in the holiday that theologically commemorates the birth of Jesus, only about half [Read More…]

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How to have a Pope Francis-style Christmas

Some advice from a professor at Santa Clara University: Time Magazine‘s pick of Pope Francis as “Person of the Year” came as no shock to those paying attention to the way the pontiff connects with the masses and inspires people of any faith to focus on what’s important. The pope chose his name from the [Read More…]

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This Sunday, we rejoice. But why do we wear rose? Why not another color?

A lot of people have wondered. Last weekend, when someone asked about it, my pastor joked, “You want to know? Check ‘The Deacon’s Bench’!” Heh. I was curious myself, and after digging through mounds of meaningless googling which said, again and again, “It’s because we rejoice,” I dug up this explanation, which is one of [Read More…]

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Rebirth: Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity undergoing major renovation

From AP:  As visitors descend upon Bethlehem this holiday season, they will notice a different look for the Church of the Nativity. Wrapped in scaffolding, the basilica located at the traditional site of Jesus’ birth is undergoing a much-needed facelift after 600 years. Experts say that water is leaking from the rooftop and threatens to [Read More…]

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Is this Christmas billboard un-Christian?

A Jewish friend posted this on Facebook, and I think the author—who is Jewish—has a good point. Details:  While recently driving through one of those long rural stretches that blur the lines between Midwest and South, I saw a large billboard that said in cheery letters: “Happy Holidays!” But the billboard featured an angry red [Read More…]

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Welcome to the “Harvard of Santa Schools”

Who knew? From the AP: Last year, Catholic Online profiled the school, too: Began in 1937 by Charles W. Howard, who originally served as Santa for Macy’s, Howard sought to indoctrinate the utmost values and etiquette in those looking to wear the fur-trimmed cap. The Santa Claus school is now run by Tom and Holly [Read More…]

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