Articles related to Christmas


Amid Poverty, Egypt's Baptist Churches Growing
Amid Poverty, Egypt's Baptist Churches Growing

By: Tony Peck
Egypt's role in the story of God's people is both a place of freedom from oppression and a place of refuge from persecution. Amid poverty and many other challenges, Baptist churches in Egypt are growing.

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Why We Only Focus on Jesus' Humanity at Christmas
Why We Only Focus on Jesus' Humanity at Christmas

By: Stuart Blythe
Christians stress Jesus' human birth at this season, but we seemingly aren't comfortable with his humanity the rest of the year. Perhaps focusing on his humanity reminds us of how we fall short.

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The Easiest Gift You Can Give Someone This Christmas
The Easiest Gift You Can Give Someone This Christmas

By: Jim Kelsey
Listening to one another's stories is a gift you can give to others this holiday season. If someone tells you the same story many times, perhaps it is because that story is important to them.

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One Small Light Still Pierces the Deepest Darkness
One Small Light Still Pierces the Deepest Darkness

By: Brent McDougal
"We wait for light, but lo, there is darkness," Isaiah wrote. The U.S. feels like that for many right now. Gloom, argument and disruption create fear for the future. It's like groping in the dark. But there's a glimmer of hope.

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Continue the Call for Peace in Our War-Weary World
Continue the Call for Peace in Our War-Weary World

By: Barry Howard
War seems to be this earth's constant companion. As we approach Christmas, once again preparing to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, let us call on leaders in the highest places to cease provocation.

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How You Can Create a Memorable Christmas Eve Service
How You Can Create a Memorable Christmas Eve Service

By: Paul Beasley-Murray
Christmas Eve services are a meaningful time but too often each one seems to merge into the other. None really stands out. To create a memorable Christmas Eve service, consider going Coptic.

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The Irony of Mary: Great Joy, Great Suffering
The Irony of Mary: Great Joy, Great Suffering

By: Jeni Martin Johnson
Mary experienced great joy raising Jesus, but God's choice for Mary was also a difficult road of suffering. When feelings of suffering come, remember Mary. God saw her through and will see you through as well.

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Advent's Path Travels the Longer View of History
Advent's Path Travels the Longer View of History

By: Colin Harris
Throughout history, empires focused on short-term greatness and domination. Advent reminds us there's another path. And it focuses on long-term goodness and community.

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U.S. Belief in Christmas Events' Historicity Declines
U.S. Belief in Christmas Events' Historicity Declines

By: EthicsDaily Staff
While a majority of U.S. adults still affirm the historicity of the biblical Christmas story, a noticeable decline has taken place over the past four years. Despite that, 90 percent will still observe Christmas.

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Churches in All Their Diversity Reflect Body of Christ
Churches in All Their Diversity Reflect Body of Christ

By: Bob Newell
Jesus taking on a human body is a basic assertion of Christmas; the fully divine God became a social and cultural being. Our churches today, in all of their diversity and cultural nuances, reflect that original body of Christ.

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A Reflection on 'The Most Wonderful Time of the Year'
A Reflection on 'The Most Wonderful Time of the Year'

By: Frank Rees
All the holiday hubbub makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. Despite the commercial hype, the season of Advent is actually a time for reflection and preparation.

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Why We Need Advent This Year!
Why We Need Advent This Year!

By: Mitch Randall
This year brought numerous moments when the darkness of this world seemed to overcome the light of hope. While the darkness had its moments, it's a reminder we need Advent more now than ever before.

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A Reminder to March to Beat of Different Drummer
A Reminder to March to Beat of Different Drummer

By: Barry Howard
A drum tree, composed of 34 drums from different eras, stands amid First Baptist Pensacola's Christmas décor. It's a reminder that our faith calls us to march to a countercultural cadence during this hectic season.

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Here's What Really Made Those Wise Men Wise
Here's What Really Made Those Wise Men Wise

By: Mike Massar
We call them the wise men, but those magi who visited Jesus at his birth were viewed with scorn. While it wasn't their intelligence quotient that made them wise, it was the commitment of their hearts.

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Questions as You Travel the Road to Bethlehem
Questions as You Travel the Road to Bethlehem

By: Yohanna Katanacho
In modern times just like at Jesus' birth, the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem came with consequences and questions - political, legal and theological. Which road will you take to Bethlehem?

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Why You Must Do More Than Wish for 'Peace' on Earth
Why You Must Do More Than Wish for 'Peace' on Earth

By: Stuart Blythe
A few days before Christmas, a terrorist attack rocked a Christmas market in Berlin. When Christians gather on Christmas to seek peace on earth, will we remember that we cannot wish for peace? We must work for it.

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Are You Willing to Stand Up for Creation Care?
Are You Willing to Stand Up for Creation Care?

By: Chuck Summers
Working to preserve and protect the creation is both a religious obligation and an act of worship. People of faith must now, more than ever, be willing to take a stand for creation care.

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Angst-Filled First Christmas Rings True to Immigrants
Angst-Filled First Christmas Rings True to Immigrants

By: Bob Newell
Obscured by today's cultural Christmas is the reality that the original Bethlehem story occurred against a backdrop of pain and dislocation for its main characters. It's a story to which immigrants can relate.

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10 Ways to Connect with Kids, Families on Christmas Eve
10 Ways to Connect with Kids, Families on Christmas Eve

By: Renée Embree
Most peoples' stereotype of church is that it's full of old people. Christmas Eve services give you an opportunity to go above and beyond to show you're welcome and ready for all generations.

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Song Reminds Us What We Should Be Thankful For
Song Reminds Us What We Should Be Thankful For

By: Zach Dawes
A new song titled "What I'm Thankful For" - a duet performed by Garth Brooks and James Taylor - offers a needed reminder that the Christmas season is about much more than "making a list and checking it twice."

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Ways to Worship When Christmas Day Falls on Sunday
Ways to Worship When Christmas Day Falls on Sunday

By: Jerrod Hugenot
With a low church attendance expected when this Christmas Day arrives on a Sunday, what can smaller churches do? One solution could be this different way to try out a Christmas Day hymn sing.

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What Do I Want for Christmas?
What Do I Want for Christmas?

By: Robert Parham
"On earth, peace" was a ridiculous announcement at Jesus' birth. Since his birth, it's been an outlandish expectation, a preposterous promise. And yet, as Christmas nears, are we trying enough?

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5 Ways to Help Those Who Weep During the Holidays
5 Ways to Help Those Who Weep During the Holidays

By: Chris Smith
Christmas lights flashing, choirs singing, shoppers shopping. They all signal "the most wonderful time of the year," even though it's not for many. But when they know you care, you can help lift a broken heart.

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The Impracticality of Advent: Immersed in Waiting
The Impracticality of Advent: Immersed in Waiting

By: Rob Hewell
Waiting just seems impractical. After all, Christmas decorations and sales arrived in stores not long ago. Honestly, we're not very good at waiting yet Advent immerses us in waiting.

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Why You Shouldn't Take Santa Out of Christmas
Why You Shouldn't Take Santa Out of Christmas

By: Beth Allison Barr
Santa is often controversial, especially for Christians. Santa is seen as deflecting from Jesus, as putting emphasis on material gifts and commercialism. But should we leave Santa out of Christmas?

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Why Luke Referred to Bethlehem as 'City of David'
Why Luke Referred to Bethlehem as 'City of David'

By: Larry Eubanks
The title of "city of David" had always referred to Jerusalem until Luke's Gospel, when he bestowed that title on Bethlehem. It was Luke's way to highlight Jesus' opposition to the powers that be in Jerusalem.

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This Christmas, Let's Give Joseph His Due
This Christmas, Let's Give Joseph His Due

By: Jim Kelsey
Every Christmas, Joseph gets short shrift. But like Mary, Joseph was an extraordinary human being used by God to usher in a new chapter in God's pursuit of us.

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Singing in the Darkness: A Christmas Tradition?
Singing in the Darkness: A Christmas Tradition?

By: Zach Dawes
The recent tragic headlines cannot overpower the love and joy we experience as we celebrate Christmas. Both traditional and little-known holiday songs reflect God's powerful love.

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Christ Will Give More Than You Can Contain
Christ Will Give More Than You Can Contain

By: James Gordon
The story of Jesus turning water into wine resonates with a world that needs to recover hope from hopelessness. He will give you more than you can contain and offer more blessing than you can think.

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Don't Let Grief's Darkness Eclipse Light of Christmas
Don't Let Grief's Darkness Eclipse Light of Christmas

By: Barry Howard
Holidays can be dark days emotionally for many of us. Grieving is healthy as long as you are moving through the grief process as opposed to becoming stuck in your grief.

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Churches Bear Gifts, Address Multiple Needs During Christmas
Churches Bear Gifts, Address Multiple Needs During Christmas

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Churches are a pipeline for gift-giving throughout the year. Here are more reports on what local churches are doing to support the common good in their communities during this Christmas season.

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Sharing Christmas Truth During a Season of Excess
Sharing Christmas Truth During a Season of Excess

By: Bill Wilson
The celebration of Christmas has ebbed and flowed throughout U.S. history. During the Advent season, Christians have the opportunity to provide a more meaningful message to society's season of excess.

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4 Christmas Gifts for People in the Middle East
4 Christmas Gifts for People in the Middle East

By: Nabil Costa
For people living in the Middle East and North Africa, life is incredibly hard. This Christmas season, here are four gifts that would help children and families escape their daily burdens.

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In a Hate-Filled World, Where Can You Find Peace?
In a Hate-Filled World, Where Can You Find Peace?

By: Chuck Summers
Hate is incredibly strong these days and seemingly drowns out all hope of peace. Is there any place you can go to find peace? Surrounded by God's creation, you can find tranquility.

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Bridging 4 Cultural Obstacles to Share God's Love
Bridging 4 Cultural Obstacles to Share God's Love

By: Juan Aragon
Followers of Jesus need to be intentional about making real and meaningful bridges with people from different languages, beliefs, values, behaviors, customs and attitudes.

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In Fractured Times, Don't Take Your Eyes Off the Prize
In Fractured Times, Don't Take Your Eyes Off the Prize

By: Jerrod Hugenot
Zephaniah, a biblical prophet, spent much of his time railing against the excesses of the day. We live in no less fractured times. Zephaniah reminds people of faith to keep our eyes on the prize.

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Trusting God to Break Though Our Weary Cynicism
Trusting God to Break Though Our Weary Cynicism

By: Guy Sayles
Christmas is the season of joy, but sometimes our joy gets crowded out by skepticism and suspicion. Despite that, we can trust God to show up in places as unexpected as our weary cynicism.

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Where's the Good News?
Where's the Good News?

By: Robert Parham
The Christian Christmas tradition is about proclamations and promises of good news. Newspapers and cable TV, however, offer a steady drumbeat of bad news. So, where is the good news?

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Churches Bear Gifts, Address Multiple Needs During Christmas
Churches Bear Gifts, Address Multiple Needs During Christmas

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Churches are gift-giving institutions during the Christmas season. Here are how a few churches are enhancing their communities and advancing the common good this holiday season.

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God's Christmas Gift: It's the Contents Not the Wrapping
God's Christmas Gift: It's the Contents Not the Wrapping

By: Colin Harris
Every Christmas season looks familiar: gift shopping, holiday entertaining, time off from work and school, special church services. But that's just wrapping. Let's look at the gift's contents.

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You're Not Called to Fear, You're Called to Love
You're Not Called to Fear, You're Called to Love

By: Larry Eubanks
There's a tension between fear and love. A person living in constant fear and anxiety dies from the inside out. A person surrounded by unconditional love flourishes even in the harshest conditions.

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Finding the Beauty While Living In-Between Addresses
Finding the Beauty While Living In-Between Addresses

By: Greg DeLoach
We're all living in-between addresses. It is not where you are from or even where you are going that matters most, but where you are right now. And Advent reminds us of that.

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Nature's Lesson: Don't Rush Through Life
Nature's Lesson: Don't Rush Through Life

By: Chuck Summers
Nature has its own pace and doesn't tend to rush things. We could learn something from nature. Our rush through life keeps us from experiencing what God has in mind for us here and now.

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A Christian Response to Yet Another Mass Shooting
A Christian Response to Yet Another Mass Shooting

By: Matt Sapp
What do we do following yet another mass shooting? Christian political engagement is no substitute for personal, individual action. One thing's clear: We can't match hatred for hatred.

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Shaun King Confronts the
Shaun King Confronts the "Christmas Crazies"

By: EthicsDaily Staff
Tired of dealing with the craziness of the Christmas season? See how one church confronts it to encourage a more meaningful observance in the latest video interview from EthicsDaily.com.

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An Incarnational Christmas, Anyone?
An Incarnational Christmas, Anyone?

By: Colin Harris
It's that time of year again when well-meaning people start lamenting the 'war on Christmas.' Maybe we should fret less about putting Christ back in Christmas and focus more on being Christ at Christmas.

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Doing Good With Christmas Shopping
Doing Good With Christmas Shopping

By: Robert Parham
Americans will soon spend billions of dollars during the frenzied Christmas shopping season. Why not spend some of that money in ways that will advance the common good?

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Believing in God Entails More Than Lip Service
Believing in God Entails More Than Lip Service
By: Drew Smith
Jesus calls those who hear his message to a belief that is more than simply mental conformity to God's rule. He called and continues to call folks to the actions of faith.
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Singing About Peace in a Violent, Fearful World
Singing About Peace in a Violent, Fearful World
By: Guy Sayles
It's ironic that, during this season, we sing about peace while storm clouds of violence and fear darken the horizon. These problems may paralyze us, but Jesus isn't powerless to change them.
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An Advent Reflection: Conquering Fear and Hatred
An Advent Reflection: Conquering Fear and Hatred

By: Elmo Familiaran
Fear, hatred and violence grip our world. Fear is the mother of hate, and hate has many offspring - slavery, avarice, genocide, bigotry, violence. But fear cannot drown out the words of the Prince of Peace.

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When It's Hard to Believe That God is With You
When It's Hard to Believe That God is With You
By: Larry Eubanks
When you live in relative comfort, believing that God is with you is easy. Those who are vulnerable or impoverished find it hard to believe that God is with them – unless we serve as God's hands.
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Learning What It's Like to be the Other Person
Learning What It's Like to be the Other Person
By: Taylor Sandlin
Most of us live out of our own perspective with little attempt to understand another's point of view. When told we don't understand other viewpoints, we become defensive. What if we tried grace instead?
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A Political Nativity in the Nation's Capital
A Political Nativity in the Nation's Capital
By: Brian Kaylor
In early December, the streets of Capitol Hill are briefly transformed into a walking live nativity, enacting the original Christmas message in the heart of the nation's power structures.
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Let's Challenge Fear That Fuels Prejudice, Inhumanity
Let's Challenge Fear That Fuels Prejudice, Inhumanity
By: Matt Sapp
When people are afraid, they quickly fall into an "us" versus "them" mentality. This Christmas, let's no longer remain silent and have the courage to speak out against prejudice.
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Each Christmas, We Celebrate Jesus the Refugee
Each Christmas, We Celebrate Jesus the Refugee

By: Elijah Brown
We often gloss over the part of the Christmas story when Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to Egypt, becoming a refugee family. Whether we admit it or not, we celebrate Jesus the refugee every Christmas.

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Let's Remember Those Persecuted for Christ's Sake
Let's Remember Those Persecuted for Christ's Sake
U.S. Christians typically don't appreciate the religious freedom we enjoy. While we celebrated Christmas openly, many Christians around the world had to observe the day in secret.
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Love Never Fails
Being a person of faith will take you down roads you never thought you would travel. Don’t wait to begin that journey until all your questions have been answered, or you know where the road will end. Take the first step and rely upon God to go with you and guide you. This was what Joseph did. He responded to God’s call upon his life with more questions in his heart than answers, but he discovered that God took every step with him and provided what he needed all along the way.
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For Struggling Millennials, 14 Christmas Truths
For Struggling Millennials, 14 Christmas Truths
Many millennials have trouble connecting to church. They want – but don't often find – honesty and transparency. Here are 14 truths about Christmas for millennials and others seeking truth.
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What Are You Watching This Christmas?
What Are You Watching This Christmas?
Many things in this busy season can take our eyes off the focus of Christmas. Maybe we should be like the shepherds or wise men and spend a few moments focusing on creation.
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What Can Birthdays Teach Us About Advent?
What Can Birthdays Teach Us About Advent?
As we move through Advent's preparation for the church's celebration of that first birthday we call Christmas, we look forward to reliving the joy of the new life that has changed the world in so many ways.
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Lessons Learned from Singing about Peace Amid Hostility
Lessons Learned from Singing about Peace Amid Hostility
In our world torn by war and dysfunction and stress, peace seems to be an elusive prize. Jesus offers a peace to us that can't be shaken by storms or enemies or crisis or even death.
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How Christians Remove Christ from Christmas
How Christians Remove Christ from Christmas
Many Christians are thankful at Christmas that their personal sins have been taken care, but that's only part of the story. Many don't concern themselves with the societal sins that burden the "least of these."
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Throughout Holidays, Churches Invest in Local Community
Throughout Holidays, Churches Invest in Local Community

Baptist churches across the United States are, once again, providing significant social capital during the Advent and Christmas holidays. Here are a few ways they're making a difference.

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Advent: Taking the Scenic Route to Christmas
Advent: Taking the Scenic Route to Christmas
Many of us feel forced to travel toward Christmas in the fast lane in a culture focused on shopping and accumulating. Advent encourages us to go slow and breathe in the scenery.
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Not Interested in Christmas
Jesus may not yet be interested in a birthday party, but I do think he is definitely interested in coming to meet you... that what he wants to do is come to you in ways he has never done so before. Whether Jesus has come to you once or twice, or many times over, he’s waiting yet again for an invitation from you to accept him into your heart. I do believe he is interested in that[...]
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Why I Hate
Why I Hate "Silent Night" During Advent
With angels, shepherds and barnyard animals present, Mary and Joseph weren't likely to have a silent night. Amid the season's clutter, it's hard to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
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This Year, Give the Gift of Friendship
Who needs your help today? Who needs you to be their Elizabeth, offering support, advice, guidance, encouragement and a blessing?
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A New Prayer for a New Year: God Bless This Mess
A New Prayer for a New Year: God Bless This Mess
Many assume they need to get their lives together before they approach God. But God comes to us as we offer him our mess and invite him into the midst of it.
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After Christmas
If we think about what happens after Christmas, what happens after Christmas should be what happens before Christmas.
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Caring for the Poor: It’s Not Just for Christmas
Caring for the Poor: It’s Not Just for Christmas
During Christmas, much emphasis is placed on acts of kindness, including giving to the poor. But we need a system of social justice that operates all year long, not just at Christmas.
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What Linus Missed When Telling Luke's Christmas Story
What Linus Missed When Telling Luke's Christmas Story

Luke's Christmas Story was revolutionary when it was written and still is today. We need to see past all the sentimentality and shallow theology that has come to surround it.

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Fear and Exclusion: Difficult Roadblocks to Peace
Fear and Exclusion: Difficult Roadblocks to Peace
When religion or politics focus on fear and exclusion, they provide a kind of false peace. Jesus wants to dismantle that false peace and show us a new way forward.
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Is Christmas About What God Did or Who God Is?
Is Christmas About What God Did or Who God Is?
Christmas is about a lot of things. What if it's also a disclosure of who God is that enables us to see a Christmas in every birth and the possibility of incarnation in every life?
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Newtown Reminds Us Christmas Always Includes Tears
Newtown Reminds Us Christmas Always Includes Tears
Newtown's tragedy pushes out into the open what we often hide from ourselves and one another at this season: We gladly sing "Silent Night," but Christmas includes tears. It always has.
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Consumption: New Religion During Christmas Season?
Consumption: New Religion During Christmas Season?
During Advent, many forget the meaning of Christmas and instead fill their emptiness with retail therapy. Let's rethink Christmas and how we spend our time and money.
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Skype Interview: David Hull Discusses
Skype Interview: David Hull Discusses "Living Christmas Tree"
Constructing a Living Christmas Tree for the Christmas presentation at First Baptist of Huntsville, Ala., represents the church in action, Pastor David Hull says in an EthicsDaily.com Skype interview. (Photo: fbchsv.org)
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This Year, Give the Gift of Peace
A peacemaker can even dry God’s tears and ease God’s troubled heart over the behavior of His children. No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
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Churches Are in Minority at Christmas – And That's Good
Churches Are in Minority at Christmas – And That's Good
Being a minority voice in a larger conversation is not just for Christmas; it is the future of the U.S. church. We no longer can dictate to culture how it will behave or believe.
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War on Christmas? Some Christians Miss the Point
War on Christmas? Some Christians Miss the Point
Some Christians feel it is their duty to defend Christmas, as if Christmas were in some sort of weakened state. One could argue that Christmas could use a bit of humbling.
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When God Came Down...“Unwrapping Jesus”
... that the real gift of Christmas is not that iPod or iPad, that sweater or coat or whatever it is you couldn’t live without, but the Christ child.
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Christmas Banner Causes Big Spat in Small N.J. Town
PITMAN, N.J. (RNS) Located just 17 miles southeast of Philadelphia, Pitman, N.J., has the rural feel of fictional Bedford Falls in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
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Poll: Nearly 80 Percent of Americans are Christian
(RNS) As Christmas nears, more than three-quarters of Americans identify themselves as Christian, Gallup reports.
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United States and Christianity – Authentic Inventions
United States and Christianity – Authentic Inventions
GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich called Palestinians an invented people, but is that so bad? In some respects, Christmas, the United States and even Christianity are inventions.
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How Well Do You Handle Interruptions?
God uses ordinary people along their journeys to help those who are struggling, and God doesn’t wait until everything has been marked off our list. So get ready.
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When God Came Down...“A Departing Angel”
But any time you feel that holy twinge, when you perceive in your heart that perhaps God is trying to tell you something that will, in all likelihood, change your life, there just may be an angel involved. If that happens to you, you might also discover that God’s message is found, not just in what the angel has to say, but in what is not said after the angel has departed.
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This Christmas, Do You Know Where Jesus Is?
This Christmas, Do You Know Where Jesus Is?
The one who entered the world in weakness and vulnerability came to reveal a way of life that has the power to transform everything. But do Christians know where Jesus is?
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On Dec. 25, Atheists Celebrate a Different Birthday
(RNS) Deck those halls with boughs of apples and top that tree with a finger puppet of Sir Isaac Newton.
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Why Nativity Scenes Don't Belong in Town Squares
Why Nativity Scenes Don't Belong in Town Squares
Upset you can't put up a manger scene in the town square? Perhaps we should spend less time worrying about rights we think we have and more time modeling the respect and hospitality of Jesus.
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Christmas: From Political Narrative to Family Holiday
Christmas: From Political Narrative to Family Holiday
When we observe Christmas today, it is based on the Victorian reinvention of the holiday as a time to celebrate family, a sanitized version of the political accounts found in the Gospels.
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Where the War of Christmas is Really Lost
Where the War of Christmas is Really Lost
'Tis the season for certain faith ministries to declare that Christmas is under a full-scale assault, but the true war on Christmas isn't being lost because a store clerk wishes you a happy holiday.
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Conservatives Rate Naughty and Nice Christmas Retailers
(RNS) Don’t let the strains of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” over the store’s audio system fool you. Barnes & Noble is “against” Christmas.
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Turning the Holidays into Holy Days
Christmas will mean so much more to us if we pull aside everyday to feed our spirits through study, prayer, reflection and meditation.
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The Danger of Mixing Santa and Jesus at Christmas
The Danger of Mixing Santa and Jesus at Christmas
The Christmas story is about the incarnation of Jesus and not about Santa bringing gifts to good little boys and girls. Mixing the two muddles the good news.
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When God Came Down...Already
We all carry our own issues into worship today, don’t we, our distractions and sometimes our depression? This is how we begin this Christmas season. When you stop and think about it, it’s pretty much how we start every Christmas season. We’re exhausted and we still have a month to go.
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Pondering Christmas
The message of Christmas is really too wonderful to be reserved simply for a season, a week, a weekend, or a day. The message of Christmas is that Christ has come to the world and Christ would come to each one of us. Do we ever genuinely ponder what that means?
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10 minutes with Robby McGee
(RNS) Every December, Christmas culture warriors square off over whether it’s politically correct to say “Merry Christmas.”
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Legends Abound for Lords-a-leaping and Maids-a-milking in `Twelve Days’
(RNS) Twelve drummers? Ten leaping lords? Two turtle doves?
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Have Yourself a Prophetic Little Christmas
Have Yourself a Prophetic Little Christmas
Nothing's wrong with a festive attitude toward Christmas, but our festive Christmas observances seem disconnected from God's prophetic work in Christ. We need to celebrate being prophetic followers of Jesus.
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Christmas Prayer Confesses Our Love of Violence
Christmas Prayer Confesses Our Love of Violence
The birth of Jesus represents the supreme effort on God's part to reshape our flawed humanity back into his own image. If we would only accept as true the things Jesus had to say to us, what a different world this might be.
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Looking at Christmas Through a Different Lens
Looking at Christmas Through a Different Lens
This Christmas, are we able to see the Christ child in the cradles of the homeless shelters, in the arms of a frightened mother in Afghanistan or in the faces of the millions of victims of our broken value systems?
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The Child – God's Unlikely Source of Redemption
The Child – God's Unlikely Source of Redemption
The child is a sign of what matters most to humanity. And the unlikely source of God's redemption is a child who will know "how to refuse the evil and choose the good."
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Poll Finds Family, not Jesus’ Birth, at Heart of Christmas
(RNS) While nearly all Americans celebrate Christmas, most focus more on family than religious traditions, a new survey shows.
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Joseph: A Man of Character Who Stood by Mary, Jesus
Joseph: A Man of Character Who Stood by Mary, Jesus
Joseph was the perfect partner for God in finding a family to raise God's son. If Mary was the wind beneath Jesus' wings, Joseph was the ground on which Jesus learned to stand.
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What Happened to the Wise Men's Gold?
What Happened to the Wise Men's Gold?
We all know the Christmas story so well that it's a challenge to see it with fresh eyes. Perhaps if we ask some different questions, we can hear this beloved story anew. Here's a three-question start.
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Divine Love Empowers Us to Stand Up for Vulnerable
Divine Love Empowers Us to Stand Up for Vulnerable
When we are confident that we are forever God's beloved children, then we are empowered to love God's creation and one another with God's unconditional love.
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When Joy is Hard to Find During Christmas
When Joy is Hard to Find During Christmas
The losses we carry seem heavier for some reason when the Christmas lights go up and the music begins. Without denying our sadness, we can choose to give the joy of the moment its proper place.
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Why the Christmas Season is Like Lucy the Camel
Why the Christmas Season is Like Lucy the Camel
During Christmas we sing about peace on earth and deliver food and clothing to the poor. All that changes after the holiday. The meaning of Christmas is a lot like Lucy the Camel – trotted out a few days every year for show.
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Former Anglican Head Bemoans Attempt to Air-brush Christianity
LONDON (RNS) George Carey has slammed attempts to “air-brush” Christianity.
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Why Retail Stores Are Where We Really Worship
Why Retail Stores Are Where We Really Worship
Why all the hullabaloo when retail store employees proclaim "Happy Holidays" to shoppers? Pressuring retail outlets to say "Merry Christmas" does nothing to advance the meaning of Christmas.
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Culture War Is Back for Christmas
Culture War Is Back for Christmas
America's culture war at Christmas is back, except this year fundamentalist Christians and Fox News didn't fire the first salvos. This season, it appears the godless fired first.
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A Christmas Past to Reflect on the Year Ahead
A Christmas Past to Reflect on the Year Ahead
It's 95 years ago on Christmas Eve. Several British and German troops broke into an unofficial truce, a spontaneous outbreak of decency. Today, can we learn to set aside our differences?
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Topsy-Turvy
When it comes, not only to Christmas, but to the world in which you live, where do you get your ideas? If you are willing to risk it, look with fresh, new eyes at that book you have in your lap. It might just change your perspective. Better yet, it might just change your world and make everything – everything – topsy-turvy.
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John the Baptist's Pointed Reminder about Christmas
John the Baptist's Pointed Reminder about Christmas
The words of John the Baptist may not be Christmas-card sweet but they call us to look at our own lives, our relationships with God and the ways those relationships impact how we live our lives.
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Christmas Fear: What We Can Learn from the Shepherds
Christmas Fear: What We Can Learn from the Shepherds
Two thousand years of carols about the perfect baby Jesus and angels that look like Precious Moments dolls have obscured the hard-hitting implications of the Christmas story, leaving us unafraid of the repercussions.
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Past Christmas Days: Historical Facts and Trivia
Past Christmas Days: Historical Facts and Trivia
Christmas has different meanings to many people. We remember that God gave his Son on that first Christmas Day. Some view Christmas as a lovely custom; others a grand holiday. What does history record?
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Why Don't We Live By Hymns We Sing? Chronic Lyricosis
Why Don't We Live By Hymns We Sing? Chronic Lyricosis
When we sing the great hymns of the Christmas season, why don't we actually live what they say? Perhaps we're hearing different words. Or maybe we're afflicted with Christian Christmas chronic lyricosis.
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The Ancient Cries in Palestine at Christmas: Part One
The Ancient Cries in Palestine at Christmas: Part One
Months after the joyous cries of Elizabeth and Mary for the births of their sons, another cry was heard from mothers in and around Bethlehem. But these were not cries of joy.
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Christmas Hymn Reminds Us Separation Won't Last
Christmas Hymn Reminds Us Separation Won't Last
Sobering words from a joyful Christmas hymn remind us of the divisions that have separated us since The Fall. Imagine if we were able to eliminate all the artificial distinctions that divide us.
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Guess Who's Watching You This Christmas Season?
Guess Who's Watching You This Christmas Season?
When I got up this morning, I had this sensation that I was being watched. No matter what I did – brewing coffee, checking headlines on the computer – I sensed other eyes watching me. Who was it?
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Church Criticized for Hosting Palestine Service
Church Criticized for Hosting Palestine Service
A London Baptist church was the focus of protests after hosting a carol concert organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. A minister at the church stood by the program, but one critic said it politicized Christmas.
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Finding Christmas Cheer in an Unexpected Place
Finding Christmas Cheer in an Unexpected Place
The holiday hunt for perfect gifts. The clutter of Christmas decorations. The grumpiness of people during this season. It's enough to make you dread Christmas – until you find joy somewhere you didn't expect.
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Remembering Ricky Bobby's Word about Baby Jesus
Remembering Ricky Bobby's Word about Baby Jesus
Too many American Christians are like Will Ferrell's character, Ricky Bobby, in "Talladega Nights." They adore the little baby Jesus of Christmas but pay no heed to the man who makes moral claims on people of faith.
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Who's More Likely to Steal Christmas? Grinch or Greed
Who's More Likely to Steal Christmas? Grinch or Greed
A fictional icon like the Grinch can't really steal Christmas, but greed certainly can. Before we say greed doesn't rob our Christmas, it might be prudent to examine ourselves more closely.
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The Overlooked Season: Don't Skip Advent This Year
The Overlooked Season: Don't Skip Advent This Year
As mission-driven Christians who live in a market-driven culture, the reflective disciplines of Advent keep us alert to stealth forces like materialism, busyness, greed and indifference.
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Christmas Toy Drives Require Immigration Check
Christmas Toy Drives Require Immigration Check
Many were outraged by news that Christmas toy drives in Houston were requiring proof of citizenship. What does it say about our country if we won't extend Christmas joy to the child who is here without documentation?
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In Those Days
This Advent season needs to find us doing our duty. And what is that? I’ll put it this way... If we do not use this season as an opportunity to be people of light who share the good news that God has come to our darkened world, then there is reason for us to question whether we are truly Christ followers.
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Better Angels Needed for Peace in Christmas Wars
Better Angels Needed for Peace in Christmas Wars
Verbal grenades have been launched once again in the Christmas wars. Caught in the crossfire are Americans of all religious convictions and no faith commitments who want to enjoy the season without a culture war.
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Advent is Most Satisfying Way to Celebrate Jesus' Birth
Advent is Most Satisfying Way to Celebrate Jesus' Birth
Many churches will mark the beginning of Advent on Sunday, a month-long reflection on the meaning of Jesus' birth. It's far more significant than simply encouraging retail outlets to say "Merry Christmas."
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The Good Life: In the Checkout Line But Not of It
During the Sundays of Advent, we will learn how to worship more fully our true God and not the god of consumerism, because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus. We will also learn how to reorder our desires so that we’ll spend less on ourselves this Christmas in order to free our resources for things that truly matter.
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The Christmas Story as Moral Resource in the Vortex of Conformity
Forgotten in Christmas homilies and hymns is the gritty story of human of resistance. Yes, resistance.
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Santa Claus and Pogo
Nast campaigned for justice in all forms of endeavor. He was like Will Rogers in his regard for political bureaucrats.
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We Can Have Joy in the Winters of Life
The season of Advent prepares us for Christmas Day, the day that Joy came down from heaven and entered into the hardships of humanity as a vulnerable child.
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'Christmas Trees'
A poem about Christmas trees by Sara Powell.
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Five Things to Do This Week to Improve Your Career
Use the downtime to improve your career. Each day, spend an hour doing one of these five things and you'll be ahead of the game when the ball drops.
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A Christmas Prayer
The birth of Jesus represents the supreme effort on your part to re-shape our flawed humanity back into your own image. If we would only accept as true the things Jesus had to say to us, what a different world this might be.
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A Plain, Profound Nativity
My favorite nativity is plain and simple yet somehow profound—kind of like my parents.
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'Are You Ready for Christmas?'
We need to be reminded that it is possible to leave Christ out of Christmas. What must we do to prevent this from happening? How do we prepare spiritually for Christmas? Taking our cue from John the Baptist, it requires that we feed our spirits, share our faith and help those that are struggling along our journey.
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Bowing to Baal in the Season of Giving
The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is an organization of 1,400 parents and supporters who recently petitioned 24 major toy companies to limit their holiday ads aimed at children this season.
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I Was Just Quoting Jesus
I recently wrote a column suggesting that as Christians we could do a better job finding ways to collectively provide assistance to the least of these among us. The responses were swift and angry. I was accused of distorting the Bible in order to advance a liberal socialist agenda. I thought I was just quoting Jesus.
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What We Can Learn From Wal-Mart Death
We're a lot like the folks at the back of that Wal-Mart line. We have no idea who's up there ahead of us. We can't see who's being crushed by the weight of our wants. All we know is that there's a sale and the doors are now open.
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March to a Different Drummer
Our drum tree serves as a holiday reminder that God calls us to march to the beat of a different drummer, receiving our formative cues and motivation from the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus.
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Seasonal Mood Swings
Why only at the apex of our material pursuits do we suddenly notice our struggling neighbors? Could it be that our temporary bouts of charity are really efforts to atone for a life of meaningless consumption?
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War on Christmas Is Back, Thanks to Atheists and Christian Fundamentalists
Aside from the humanists/atheists and Christian fundamentalists, about the only ones who benefit from the verbal brawls over the war on Christmas are the cable TV talk shows, which both feed on and feed off the extremists, relishing false choices, ranting guests and narcissistic hosts.
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Christmas Star Gets Its Due on Epiphany
(Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly) Christmas, despite what the calendar says, isn't over. And the star--"star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright"--that shone over Bethlehem won't go dim until it gets its proper due on Epiphany on Sunday.
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Looking Into the Eyes Of Jesus
During the Christmas holidays, several news outlets carried an article about Rudy Giuliani reading the Christmas story at a children's home in Harlem. The heart-warming headline was followed by a story explaining that he is following up on a 14-year tradition. Every December Giuliani goes to the children's home to read "Twas the Night before Christmas."
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Seasonal Charity and Biblical Justice
The holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas is the most intensely charitable time of the whole year. Church and civic groups gather clothes, food, and toys for needy families. Volunteers make their way to homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Busy shoppers dutifully drop their change into Salvation Army buckets.
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Baptists Celebrate Christmas in Malaysia
Washington (BWA) For the very first time, permission was granted by Malaysian authorities for Christians to celebrate Christmas in the Muslim-majority country.
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Christmas Preparation
Every year at Christmas I take a week of vacation either before or after the holiday. This year I took off the week before. Knowing that things might be hectic in the church office I thought I had everything lined up and taken care of related to adopted Christmas families, the weekly food program and everything else that takes place during the week. I really needed a break to get myself ready for Christmas.
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The More Things Change, the More They Change: A Christmas Memoir
As a child I would go to bed on Christmas Eve so excited I could hardly sleep. Of course, part of the problem was that the last words I heard from Mama before I went to bed were "Go to sleep now; Santa Claus won't come if you're awake." So I went to bed terrified that I wouldn't be able to sleep and certain that if I didn't sleep then there would be no gifts for me.
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There's 'Joy' in the Manger
Through the years I have enjoyed observing countless living nativity scenes during the holiday season. Most of these scenes are staged on the lawns of church campuses or they are incorporated into annual Christmas pageants. Many of the scenes include both human characterization and a menagerie of live animals.
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Who Is Jesus?
As we make our way to Christmas Day when millions of Christians worldwide celebrate the birth of Jesus, perhaps it's worth asking, "Who is Jesus?"
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Advent: Waiting for the World to Change
John Mayer's song called "Waiting for the World to Change" has been my head as I think about Christmas. Mayer writes compelling lyrics about how we often feel like we don't have the power to change our world. "Now we see everything that's going wrong/with the world and those who lead it/we just feel like we don't have the means/to rise above and beat it." So we keep waiting, Mayer says, waiting for the world to change.
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Is Violence Among Humans Inevitable?
This Christmas season has been tragically scarred by a series of senseless violent acts. Shopping malls and churches are the latest venues for troubled individuals to take out their frustrations on the innocent.
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A Parable of Christmas for Our Time
I have been trying to come up with a parable for the Christmas season. I wanted to write a story that would capture the mood of this strange religious time we live in. But before I could even get my imagination cranked, reality came along with something much better than any thing I might dream up.
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Reviving the Real War on Christmas
I am originally from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, home to Bunker Hill, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickenson and Mary Baker Eddy. I am proud son of Massachusetts, so it shouldn't be a surprise that I am anti-Christmas.
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Make Your Own Gifts This Season
'Tis the season to go crazy.
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Make Christmas More About Giving, Less About Consumption
Christmas is not your birthday--unless you're Jimmy Buffet, Clara Barton or Jesus, that is. But you already knew that.
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In Search Of Christmas
Now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to begin preparing for Christmas in earnest. Unfortunately with the arrival of the season also comes the accompanying lunacy. I refer of course to the annual battle to save Christmas. The decision by many retailers to use the inclusive language of "Happy Holidays," rather than "Merry Christmas," has become the latest battleground for conservative Christians' war on culture.
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Thanksgiving Trumps Christmas, Orange Is the Color for the Common Good
Thanksgiving trumps Christmas. Cultural fundamentalists and sentimental Christians may read that statement as heresy.
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