The death of Thanksgiving?

Some compelling thoughts, from Presbyterian pastor Henry G. Brinton:  As Thanksgiving approaches and commerce clashes with personal values, people talk about what they are thankful for. Macy’s Department Store is famous for presenting the Thanksgiving Day Parade. But now the same store that is in its 87th year of producing a nationally-televised parade, watched by [Read More...]

Yes, it’s still Christmas

The lights are still ablaze in Princeton, New Jersey, where I stepped into St. Paul’s Church Thursday night and encountered the glorious scene above. The church was just lovely. Thanks to Msgr. Joseph Rosie, Deacon Jim Knipper and the wonderful folks at St. Paul’s for their hospitality and warm welcome in support of “Hungry and You [Read More...]

Now the work of Christmas begins

Lest we forget:  When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, [Read More...]

Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” re-imagined for Christmas

We’ve all heard Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung in a variety of styles — from the sweetly simple to the epic and grandiose.  But you’ve probably never heard it quite like this, beautifully re-imagined for the Christmas season by the band Cloverton.   Purists will blanche.  But I loved it.  See for yourself and decide. Consider [Read More...]

What the angel REALLY told the shepherds …

Ha! [Read more...]

Photographer sends out family Christmas card—and he plays every member of the family

I guess someone at the Wall Street Journal got one: Like many of us, Gary He, 28, struggled to choose just one representative portrait of himself for his holiday card. So he used 14. He, a Brooklyn-based photographer, always puts a lot of thought, effort and money into his holiday card. Last year, he riffed [Read More...]

A Christmas classic: the nativity scene of Mr. Bean

‘Tis the season for playing with your creche! Back by popular demand: a Christmas favorite of The Bench, and one that never fails to make me smile. Enjoy. [Read more...]

Homily for December 30, 2012: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

[Click here for readings] I’m struck every year by the timing of this feast, celebrating the Holy Family. It comes on the first Sunday following Christmas, when a lot of us have started to overdose on family.  In fact, after the parties and cooking and visiting and obligations and expectations and disappointments, some of us [Read More...]

A Christmas carol about mass murder?

Yes. It traditionally commemorates today’s feast and has a tragic resonance right now: The “Coventry Carol” is a Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play calledThe Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew. The carol refers to the Massacre of the [Read More...]

The Christmas message from Newtown’s pastor

Msgr. Robert Weiss published the following in his parish bulletin this week: Dear Parishioners, Had I written my Christmas message a couple of weeks ago as I had planned, it would have had a far different tone than this message. We have not only witnessed one of the greatest tragedies in the world, but we [Read More...]


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