Merry Christmas from The Bench!

If you somehow slipped off my mailing list this year…do me a favor and just pretend you got this in the mail. Merry Christmas!  😀 [Read more…]

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Is Santa missing from your mall?

Turns out, he isn’t quite as ubiquitous as he used to be. Details, from TIME: Throughout North America, most shopping centers are proceeding with the traditions of the season, including regular appearances of Santa, complete with the chance for kids to sit on his lap, tell him what they want, and get a picture taken—so [Read More…]

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How Charles Dickens saved Christmas

The story behind the most famous Christmas story since the Nativity, from the Capitol Hill Times: When Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1842, the holiday was nearly dead in modern England. Christmas was celebrated by the rural and poor, but frowned upon by employers. It took an American, Washington Irving, to praise Christmas [Read More…]

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“This is a Christmas festival”: Catholic school drops Hanukkah song from concert

Details:  A Hanukkah song was dropped from a Roman Catholic school concert just a day before the show after an official said the season’s focus should be on the birth of Jesus. As a result, two music instructors who had been working with students declined to participate in the concert Tuesday night at Interlochen Arts [Read More…]

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“Les Miserables”: timeless—and timely

Tony Rossi offers his review of this year’s must-see movie musical: The Christmas debut is appropriate since it’s the most profoundly Christian story for mainstream audiences that’s been produced in years. Far from being a niche movie just designed for religious viewers, this is a big budget drama whose universal values will appeal to anyone yearning for [Read More…]

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Need a smile? This should do it.

God bless Tom McDonald for digging up this wonderful picture, which came along at a moment I really needed it.  After the last few days, it gives us all something we sorely need:  Santa Pope!   [Read more…]

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Is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” anti-Semitic?

At the beginning of Advent, I quoted the first line of that timeless chant in my homily, and after Mass a parishioner took me to task.  “Deacon Greg,” she said, “you know you said something anti-Semitic in your homily?”  I was taken aback.  She explained, “That first line in ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’?  Where [Read More…]

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“With the angels, let us sing…”—UPDATED

For those who missed it, here’s the lovely, unexpectedly moving cold open to “Saturday Night Live” last night. Access Hollywood noted: “Saturday Night Live” strayed from the comedic path for their cold open on this week’s show, opting instead for a somber performance of “Silent Night” by the New York City Children’s Chorus in light [Read More…]

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Atheists erect anti-Christian billboard in Times Square

The Catholic League notes: Hanukkah is currently being celebrated, but fortunately for Jews they are not being attacked by David Silverman. No, like other haters in the atheist community, the president of American Atheists saves his vitriol for Christians. Silverman’s latest assault is a huge billboard in New York’s Times Square. The decision by Silverman [Read More…]

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Did Obama remove Christmas from the White House Christmas cards?

Given items like this one, you would think so. But it turns out the word “Christmas” hasn’t appeared in a White House Christmas card for years. A website devoted to White House Christmas cards has some context: During their first year in the executive mansion, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama’s selection of their [Read More…]

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