The Duggar family has a rather unique way of celebrating Christmas: instead of focusing on gifts or decorations, the family throws a birthday party for Jesus.
"The true spirit and true meaning of Christmas is really what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has done for us," eldest son, Josh, told People magazine. "People ask, 'Why don't the Duggars have a big massive Christmas tree?'"
Duggar matriarch Michelle replied: "Well, we celebrate Jesus' birthday. So we have a big Happy Birthday Jesus banner and we really try to focus on the real meaning of Christmas." more >>
In the midst of all our preparations for our Christmas celebrations, something serious appeared on the horizon. A former Evangelical, Valerie Tarico, wrote an article on Salon called "Why rape is so intrinsic to religion." With a title like that, the week before Christmas: one can only surmise that she intended to provoke.
I feel called to respond to this article, as a Roman Catholic woman intellectual. I know that I have many non-Catholic readers among my Ruth Institute friends, but I have to speak as a Catholic for two reasons. First of all, that is what I am. Secondly, non-Catholic Christianity is not a well-defined thing. One can readily point to non-Catholic Christians who believe all sorts of things. There is no non-Catholic Christian "definitive" or "traditional" interpretation of anything. Say what you like. Believe what you like. But Catholicism has at least this virtue: one can figure out what it actually says and does not say.
Dr. Tarico cites numerous examples of rape stories in a variety of religious traditions: Zeus, Jupiter, Zoroaster and so on. Tucked away within those stories is the story of the virginal conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. I'm reminded of the old Sesame Street song: "One of these is not like the others." more >>
Carrie Underwood recently admitted that hectic schedules have made celebrating holidays impossible before, but after the arrival of her first child, the singer and her husband, Mike Fisher, will never miss a special celebration again.
The "Something in the Water" singer, who is expecting her first child with Fisher, is already looking forward to next Christmas with the new baby. However, Underwood said juggling careers and parenthood would be challenging for both herself and Fisher in the year to come.
"That's something that has definitely been on both our minds," the singer told CMT. "We are just crazy. Our lives are weird, you know? They're awesome, and we're so blessed, but we're coming and going and all that stuff, so we're definitely going to have to reevaluate everything and just make time, make room and make that a priority." more >>
Pope Francis spent Christmas night on the telephone with persecuted refugees in Kurdistan who've been targeted by terror group ISIS, telling them that they're "like Jesus on the night of His birth" because of the dangers they face. The Vatican leader attempted to offer the people comfort, and told them that they're "close to his heart."
"You are like Jesus on the night of his birth when he had been forced to flee. You are like Jesus in this situation, and that means we are praying even harder for you," Francis told the refugees in a telephone call to Father Benoca, the head of the Christian community in the Ankawa Refugee Center near Erbil.
"Dear brothers, I am very, very close to you with all of my heart. May the Lord caress you with His tenderness." more >>
President Barack Obama visited U.S. troops on Christmas Day at the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii, thanking them for their service as the military operations in Afghanistan draw to a close, and honoring the birth of Christ.
"So on a day when we celebrate the Prince of Peace and many of us count our blessings, one of the greatest blessings we have is the extraordinary dedication and sacrifices you all make," Obama told the troops, according to ABC News.
"We could not be more thankful. I know I speak for everyone in the entire country when I say, we salute you." more >>
I'm James Lankford, and I have the honor of representing the people of central Oklahoma in the United States House of Representatives. And beginning on January 6th, I'll represent the great people of the State of Oklahoma in the United States Senate.
Across our nation and around the world, families are waking up today to celebrate Christmas. more >>