Christmas

Perpetuating the Gender Myth in Sports

On Saturday, September 8, 2018, Serena Williams had a mental breakdown at the US Open women’s finals. Her behavior was inexcusable and demonstrated a great disrespect for the game, the officials, and her opponent, Naomi Osaka. The umpire, Carlos Ramos, issued her three code violations: first, a warning for receiving coaching (which her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, [...]

Counting Christmas: Celebrating the Twelfth Night

Eight octave days, culminating in a New Year. Twelve days before Epiphany. Forty days until the Presentation. This is how we count the days of Christmas. The octave and forty days are biblical, prescribed by the Mosaic Law for Circumcision and the dedication in the Temple of a male who opens his mother’s womb. Through [...]

Advent a Casualty in the “War on Christmas”

Just in time for Christmas 2017, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that found that 56 percent of Americans believe that the "religious parts of Christmas" are emphasized less in the United States today than they were in the past. It's hard to argue otherwise: Even many of those who have [...]

Christmas: Reality Incarnate

On March 25, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation, commemorating the moment when Gabriel brought Mary the divine invitation to bear the Savior. Mary's fiat allowed the Holy Spirit to overshadow her, and bring about the conception of Jesus. Now, at Christmas, nine months later, the work begun in Mary comes to its [...]

Christmas and Nietzsche’s Abyss

Nietzsche portentously remarked in Beyond Good and Evil, “when you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes back.” The German nihilist fully appreciated where a world without God was gamboling. For him, no airbrushing the Brave New World. If only his scions were as brutally frank. Bereft of his Teutonic steel, they soak secularism in [...]

Life Lessons from Christmas Carols

One of the perpetual complaints against Christianity is that it is a life-denying, puritanical system. In the Victorian era, poet Algernon Swinburne referred to Christ as the “pale Galilean” from whose breath “the world has grown grey.” In our own time, films such as The Handmaid’s Tale portray Christians as robotic control freaks. Meanwhile, elite [...]

In Defense of Santa Claus

When I was attending Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas—the precise year and semester, I have forgotten—I met the first opposition to Santa Claus. I had known that there were people who did not believe in the “Christmas Man”; my parents had explained to me that such people did exist in the world. But the opposition [...]

The Wisdom in Wonder: Children at Christmas Time

And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered: and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these [...]

Emmanuel Has Come

Throughout my life I’ve had more discussions with people about God than I dare count. Most conversations are with believers who accept him despite their lack of proof; others with skeptics who reject him, or throw up their hands in uncertainty, because they deem the evidence contrary or inconclusive. When I've asked what would seal [...]

The Fight Before Christmas

Black Friday, 6:15 AM. The checkout lane was already twenty persons deep, but worse—it hadn’t moved in five minutes. As I scanned the other seven lanes, they were no better. Resigned, I took my place in line clutching the electronic gadgetry I had snatched up in my bargain-hunting frenzy. As everyone knows, deep mark-downs await [...]

10 Christmas Stories Every Father Should Read to His Children

When St. Nick drives his miniature sleigh full of toys drawn by eight tiny reindeer to the snowy housetop, and drops to the sooty hearth below, the paterfamilias is bidden to attend. It is the father who hears “the prancing and pawing of each little hoof,” and springs from his bed to stand witness and [...]

The Christmas Story in an Era of Irrational Skepticism

Tis the season to attack traditional Christianity by pedaling, through social networks and the mass media, speculative theories that contradict orthodox Christian beliefs. On Christmas Eve (predictably), the Washington Post revived a 2014 article promoting the discredited theory that the "historical Jesus" never even existed. Yet even the agnostic New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, famously [...]

The Splendor of the World Redeemed

The aroma was transporting: the familiar smell brought me back to childhood, to being in the kitchen with my mom, as her banana cake baked in the oven, promising sweet and banana-ish goodness. To this day, the aroma of a well-made banana cake (and, you’ll allow me to aver, my mother’s was the best) brings [...]

The Christmas Triad: Christ, Church, Eucharist

As a cradle Catholic long accustomed to the rituals and feasts of faith, the earliest memories I have coincide, most happily, with membership in what the comedian Lenny Bruce used to call the only the Church. And so there was never a time when Christmas was not an occasion for sheer wonderment and joy, an [...]

The Christian Subtext to “Secular” Christmas Film Classics

That there is some sense in which Christmas can be said to have become “secularized” over the years is undoubtedly true. Nevertheless, this judgment may be overwrought. Perhaps Christ is more present in “secularized” expressions of Christmas than either Christian or non-Christian is willing to acknowledge. This is borne out by close examination of such [...]

Catholics Agree: It’s a Wonderful Life

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Frank Capra’s beloved Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. It debuted December 20, 1946, just a year after World War II ended. (Remember, the film begins and ends with the expected return of war hero Harry Bailey.) The film offers several Catholic perspectives. How many movies today would [...]

Religious Joy: A Christmas Sermon

"And the angels said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke ii. 10, 11.) There are two principal lessons which we are [...]

The Effrontery of Hope

It seems to me that we take “hope” for granted. Of course, as good Catholics we know that we are not to presume the mercy of God, or his blessings. So we might protest that we do no such thing; we know that God is in no way obliged to give us anything, that everything—including [...]

Art and the Embodiment of the Incarnate Word

Our celebration of the great feast days should instantiate in our lives the realities they communicate. For Christmas, the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, our actions, such as gift giving, caroling, the symbols of green life in winter, should make present the gift of the new life of Christ coming into the world. [...]

Dr. Seuss & How the Secular Humanist Stole Christmas

It is telling when the deficiencies of the adult world are told in the pages of children’s books. An instance of this has been immortalized in Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s cherished story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The tale of the Grinch is beloved, and for good reason, too. It is a wicked, wacky little [...]

Mystery and History Collide on Christmas

When we consider the Christmas Miracle, it is worth recalling the fact that Joseph does not at once repudiate his betrothed, despite his discovery that she is pregnant with another’s child. It is an astonishing development. How painfully bewildering it must have been for him, however, to try and account for a conception for which [...]

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