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 >>
In this week's Weekly Republican Address, issued by Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, on Christmas morning, the conservative senator-elect reminded viewers of one thing they need to be thankful for this Christmas: their religious freedoms.
As millions of Americans celebrate Christmas with gifts, Christmas trees, reefs, lights, caroling, nativity scenes and other displays, many Americans might take for granted their luxury to celebrate the holidays in any form or fashion they want without having to worry about any consequences or being "silenced".
Although many are claiming that America is waging a war against Christmas and religious expression, Lankford, who won Oklahoma's vacant senate seat by over 38 percentage points in November, said that undeniable religious freedoms granted by the Constitution allow Americans to continue with their Christmas traditions and express the love they have for Jesus. more >>
I saw a recent hand-held sign from a protester on television with the words: "Which side of history are you on?"
With another Christmas approaching, I can't overstate how relevant that notion is when it comes to Christ's kingdom, which began 2000 years ago and will one day see its wider fulfillment.
Christmas is a special time of year, by anybody's reckoning. It isn't because it's winter solstice. It isn't because it's "sparkle day" as some secularists now want to re-label Christmas. It's because of the birth of a baby. A very special Baby. more >>
As Christmas gets closer, I can't help but think of my son's fascination with toy dinosaurs. As a three year old, he couldn't get enough and in an effort to engage him I would sit on the floor and play. My T-Rex would say things like, "Come on guys, can't we just all get along? Let's play." His would without hesitation reply in a mean, gruff voice, "No! I'm going to eat you. Let's fight!" This happened on several occasions before I understood it.He's a boy. He likes dino-violence, and that's okay.
Unfortunately, not all mothers are comfortable with the fact that their sons are "Wild at Heart" to quote a popular book. Not every boy is wired the same, but there are certainly some God-given, innate characteristics within most boys that we may not understand, but that we can celebrate and channel into positive, productive purposes. One of those traits is their hard-wired bravery, exhibited by young men like John Blunk who threw his body over his girlfriend to save her life when James Eagen Holmes opened fire in a Colorado movie theater. It's the same bravery that allowed Seal Team Six to risk their own lives in order to take out the evil Osama Bin Laden. Viva La Difference! I must add that while CWA applauds our brave women in the military, we must still acknowledge that 82 percent of those serving are men.
Instead of applauding and embracing the unique differences between boys and girls, a new wave of feminists are using Christmas to do just the opposite. Feminists are asserting that when we allow boys to be themselves and play with gender-based toys like army men, we are teaching them that it's okay to beat their wives when they are older. That's why these feminists have latched on to "No Gender December," Play Unlimited's campaign to encourage seasonal gift givers to purchase toys without consideration of gender, advocating gender-neutral toys and for stores to stop categorizing toys by gender. more >>
The sights and sounds of Christmas were on vivid display as hundreds of people gathered with fascination to watch and listen to the presentation. The music was loud and jubilant, boldly declaring the birth of Jesus. The live nativity scene – complete with adorable angels and determined wise men – was comprised of excited children helping each other adjust their elaborate costumes and stick on beards that rivaled those of Duck Dynasty.
I wasn't at a megachurch or a school play or a shopping mall. It was the Sunday before Christmas, and I was in Asia's largest red light district, the notorious streets of Kamathipura in Mumbai, India.
This Christmas season I set out to explore how some of the poorest and most vulnerable in India approach the Advent, and how Jesus' birth is presented and celebrated by believers in seemingly unlikely environments in our world. more >>