Circle of light: behind the Advent wreath

It’s a popular fixture in Catholic churches and homes, but the Advent wreath comes with a long history and rich meaning. From the Catholic Sentinel in Portland, OR: Advent is about more than marking an event 2,000 years ago and the wreaths help make that clear. Progressive lighting of candles symbolizes a two-part hope surrounding [Read More...]

Let there be lights: pope uses tablet to light world’s largest Christmas tree

You can read all about it here. Evidently, he opted for a Sony S, rather than iPad which he’d used earlier in the year. See for yourself below. [Read more...]

It’s here: this season’s first big holiday flash mob

Leave it to T-Mobile to kick-start the season with another splashy production number in a public space — this one, a shopping mall outside Chicago. [Read more...]

Another sign of Christmas: billboards from atheists

They’re back: Nearly $40,000 was spent during the last Christmas season on a billboard war between atheists and Roman Catholics at the New Jersey entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. But so far, this year’s version of the atheist billboard has failed to generate much of a fight. The American Atheists’ new orange and black billboard, just [Read More...]

O, Tannen-bomb: the Christmas tree controversy in Rhode Island

Trouble is taking root, and spreading: Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee unwrapped a Christmas conundrum when he erected a “holiday” tree in the Statehouse, incensing the Roman Catholic Church, many residents and even the tree farmer who donated the 17-foot-tall spruce. The holiday hubbub comes to a head Tuesday evening when Chafee presides over a [Read More...]

A prayer to St. Nicholas — UPDATED

Good St Nicholas, Help us prepare for the miracle of the coming of Jesus. Help us not to be blind to the gifts of getting ready. Help us be sincere in the greetings we send and receive, with love and prayer. Kind St. Nicholas, protect us from shoppers’ fatigue, stress, overspending, yet help us to [Read More...]

What happens when Santa gives $100 to needy strangers?

For some, it’s a gift of hope and an answered prayer.  From the Reading Eagle in Pennsylvania: Sitting in Reading’s Inter-City Bus Terminal on Tuesday night, Thomas Coates Jr. was out of work and out of hope. Then, out of the blue, a stranger sat next to him and restored his faith in human kindness. [Read More...]

Have an ice Christmas

Once again, they’ve erected a stunning nativity scene in Graz, Austria, sculpted from ice: The life-size sculptures of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the three kings have been handmade by Gert J. Hoedl and his international team, using 54 tons of ice. The scene shows the Virgin Mary cradling baby Jesus, while Joseph looks on. The [Read More...]

And now, a nativity scene for the Jetsons

It will be on display at the cathedral in Los Angeles this week, according to The Tidings: The U.S. debut of “Haute Sphere,” a contemporary interpretation of the Nativity scene conceived by architect Sylvain Dubuisson and crafted by French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud, will take place Dec. 7 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the [Read More...]

“You’re never too old to sit on Santa”

Here’s a nice palate-cleanser for you.  The latest bit of inspired weirdness from the folks at Improv Everywhere: a production number about Santa’s lap staged at a New Jersey mall. With the stress of the holidays, who couldn’t use a little song and dance? [Read more...]


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