Welcome to our Wisdom Wednesday edition for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We’ll look at some traditional events, such as the pope’s Urbi et Orbi message, why Christmas was observed early in Ukraine, and we’ll explore a few other events, such as Kwanzaa and how American Hindus celebrate Christmas.
We also have a report on the latest stunt from Texas, sending children in tee shirts to New York in 15-degree weather. Things are bad at the border, no doubt about it.
If you overindulged at the Christmas table, pizza with the youth group or donuts after Mass, we have a link to the “theology of the fat body.”
Urbi et Orb
Pope Francis called for concrete gestures of solidarity in his Christmas message.
Welcoming the stranger?
Certainly contrary to the call of Francis, Texas dispatched three busloads of unprepared migrants – including children – to be dropped off in 15-degree weather near the home of Vice President Kamala Harris. Political arguments aside, it is cold at the border too, where migrants are waiting for a key ruling on asylum.
Christmas News from Around the World
Ukrainians usually celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, as do the Russians. But not this year, or at least not all of them. Some Orthodox Ukrainians decided to observe Christmas on Dec. 25 on the same schedule with most western Christians.
Is it a manger or a creche? Or as one child was heard to say, the “God-barn”? Around the world, the barn might instead be a yurt or some other cultural adaptation.
How do American Hindu’s spend Christmas? Hindu Americans come from many different backgrounds and have numerous approaches to the holiday season.
A writer for Religion News Service explores “Why early Christians wouldn’t have found the Christmas story’s virgin birth so surprising.” The idea of virgin birth has been part of Christianity since the start, but its significance has shifted over time.
Is it a Holiday or Holy Day? Pew Research from a few years ago found that 90 percent of Americans say they celebrate Christmas, but only 46 percent described Christmas as primarily religious.
It’s not Christmas, but it is on the calendar. Black Catholic Messenger rounds up the details about the weeklong celebration underway for Kwanzaa.
The year that was
In the first part of his year-end summaries of 2022’s news in the church and politics, Michael Sean Winters sees significant shifts in the intellectual and ecclesial landscape.
Mass shooting fears erupted in 2022 in houses of worship. Here’s how religious leaders are trying to keep worshippers safe.
And with a historic number of churches leaving, why 2022 was so dramatic for United Methodists.
Among top environmental stories of 2022, we found “A Farmer’s Quest to Beat California’s Waves of Drought and Deluge.” WIRED Magazine reports on farmer Don Cameron who went all in on a trickle-down survival tactic.
Politics and Religion
Despite ample evidence, Christian nationalism was mostly absent from the final Jan. 6 report. Read the story from Religion News Service.
With contentious 2022 midterm elections in the rearview mirror, the lone bishop of Maine is encouraging the faithful to assess their voting process in the new year, reminding themselves where the church stands on a number of key issues.
Around the World
Hundreds of U.S. rabbis have signed an open letter protesting Israel’s new hardline government and pledging to block the most extreme Jewish nationalist members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet from speaking in their congregations or organizations.
The World Cup and that black cloak
It was a bisht given to Lionel Messi the after his World Cup triumph. A scholar of Middle Eastern cultural traditions explains the history and significance of the black cloak.
Who is Leonard Leo?
Leonard Leo has reshaped the Supreme Court and Catholic University may be next, says NCR.
Theology of the fat body
A writer for US Catholic says “Hang-ups over food and body size alienate Catholics from God’s abundance and one another.”
Back from last week! Check out the following entries from an Interfaith Calendar, for the month of December. Some unfamiliar names and traditions are included – perhaps an augmented context for the usual lame greeting, Happy Holidays.
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