A tall evergreen pine tree has been the symbol of Christmas for centuries, going back to pre-Christian concepts of renewal even in bleak Northern European winters.
Christmas trees can be impressive and much sought after, though not always within financial reach for families.
In an episode of the primetime ABC television series "What Would You Do?" a woman played the role of an injured single mother who brought her kids to look for a Christmas tree. more >>
The United Methodist Church received nearly $3 million in donations in a single day as part of the global observation known as Giving Tuesday, or #GivingTuesday.
"Nearly 6,000 donors from 27 countries donated $2.8 million through The Advance to support mission and ministries around the world," the UMC Global Ministries announced this week. The sum is an increase from the $2.4 million the Mainline Protestant denomination received at the same time last year.
"The denomination's General Board of Global Ministries matched the first $1 million, building additional incentive for giving. More than 770 projects and missionaries received 8,757 gifts through The Advance, the designated giving channel of The United Methodist Church." more >>
As part of a tradition that's grown every year, Willow Creek Community Church members spent their Sunday morning filling bags for Christmas care packages that will be distributed to the 70,000 men and women living in Illinois' state prisons.
"This year we set the goal of putting a gift into the hands of every prisoner in the state of Illinois by packing 70,000 gift packs," Heather Larson, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, told The Christian Post on Monday.
"For the last two years, the Willow Creek Care Center provided Christmas prison packs to 20,000 inmates (2013), and 32,000 (2014), inmates in Illinois. After receiving hundreds of letters from prisoners it was clear that we needed to do more," Larson said. more >>
"The Letters" hits theaters December 4, and takes an inside look into the life of Mother Teresa by focusing on the inception of her ministry and her battles with loneliness and spiritual emptiness. Although making a film comprised of the personal letters of one of the world's most adored person of our generation may seem like a very good concept initially, after watching the movie and hearing first hand that it was not at all Mother Teresa's desire to divulge her personal battles or charity to the public, it now all seems a bit insensitive.
The film kicks off in 1998 with Vatican investigator Benjamin Praagh, played by actor Rutger Hauer (Batman Begins, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). He visits India after a supposed ray of light emanated from a locket containing Mother Teresa's photo in it and "healed" a woman with a tumor. The scene left out, however, that there were real life reports from the patient's doctor citing that medicine was the healer and not the revered mother.
The alleged miracle was what put Mother Teresa on track to becoming a declared saint by the Vatican, which was the preface of the film. But Teresa was instead ordained "beatitude," not a saint just yet because in Catholicism in order for a deceased person to be named a saint, evidence must be presented to persuade Church officials that the person in question lived a godly life and performed at least two miracles as evidence that God worked through them. more >>
The annual Housing and Urban Development report on America's homeless population shows an overall decline, but some cities are declaring a state of emergency on what they are calling a homeless crisis.
According to HUD, in January, 564,708 people were classified as "homeless on a given night," with 31 percent of those either foregoing or not having access to shelter.
The HUD report states that the goal of the federal government is to end "chronic homelessness by 2017." more >>
To really help the poor, we must not only change their mindset and worldview — but ours as well!
Peace Corps volunteer Josie Kornegay was in the West African nation of Sierra Leone teaching a class on microbiology for ten nursing students. As related in Darrow Miller and Stan Guthrie's book, "Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures," "[a]fter the final exam, one student raised her hand and said, 'Miss, I know that you taught us about polio, but do you want to know how people really get it?'"
Josie's heart sank. "How?" she asked the student, who replied, "It's the witches!" . . . They are invisible. They fly around at night and bite people's backs!" more >>