Christmas

Photo credit: YouTube/Eric Metaxas

Dawn Eden: from “rock historian” to Grand Inquisitor

The writer Dawn Eden Goldstein has been going hell bent for leather against Cardinal Raymond Burke. Her efforts reveal more about Dawn than they do about His Eminence. Ms. Goldstein charges Cardinal Raymond Burke with questioning the validity of the conclave that elected Francis as Pope—and, therefore, whether Francis is really the pope. In the [...]

The Incarnation: What It Reveals about God and Us

The season of Advent prompts us to ponder anew the question Jesus put to his disciples two thousand years ago: “Who do you say that I am?” It is a haunting question because the possible answers are few. During Jesus’s life, he was accused of being a deluded babbler, knowing fraud, or demon-possessed lackey; acknowledged [...]

Waiting in Hope

I hope I get a Nintendo Switch for Christmas... I hope I get a hoverboard... I hope I get an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle... When I was a boy, about nine or 10 years old, my sister and I longed for and hoped to get a horse. Our family had [...]

Why The Worst Christmas Story is Worth Reading

There are few Christmas stories that begin with a scene so ragged and rich as a threadbare, moth-gnawed Santa Claus who, returning to his flat after hearing the desires of adoring urchins, pulls bottles of chianti from his boots for himself and an old friend on Christmas afternoon. Christmas stories are all about the shabby [...]

Modern Science Offers Evidence for Christmas Story

I was privileged recently to go on a pilgrimage with Fr. Dwight Longenecker and forty-eight other pilgrims to the Holy Land. We were retracing the steps of the Magi from Jordan into Israel. The pilgrimage was based on the historical detective work that Fr. Longenecker produced in his book Mystery of the Magi: The Quest [...]

The Truth (of Christ) Will Set You Free

We mark anniversaries of events so as not to forget. We do this as a country all the time—we mark, for instance, the anniversary of our independence on July 4th every year. We do it because we consider the Fourth of July to be the birth of our freedom. Naturally, then, we turn to the founding [...]

Why Is There an Ugly Christmas Sweater Day?

So much that passes for culture these days is just entertainment. What people consider “culture” is an excuse to have fun. Everything must be full of novelty and excitement. It must be Facebookable and Instagram-friendly. While these fun activities may be popular, they do not constitute culture. They have no depth. For many, even Christmas need [...]

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 [...]

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