Welcome to what was, in the olden days, the twelve days of Christmas. Goes to show how out of step Christians are if the secular world sets the tempo, and how scandalously at odds we sometimes are amongst ourselves. We've heard and believed the Announcement of Great Joy, as the shepherds did --- but things aren't all glory and light yet, since we are all bent (though redeemed) people in a fallen world tending to the chaos it was in the beginning. And --- some of us, like the secular world, have been celebrating since before Thanksgiving and just finished up on the 25th; some just started the celebrating and will keep singing Nativity songs for twelve days, or forty; and a lot of Christans east of Athens won't even get to Christmas until the 7th of January. So, not every post will be full of comfort and joy (can't really expect that until the Great Day comes, anyway), but they are all fine and worthy.
So, on with the show!
John talks about The Shame of Shame at Brain Cramps for God The differences between guilt, shame, and shaming, and how to behave toward each.
Patricia presents Let It Get To You posted at A Better You Blog. Listen when God speaks. Notice when others hurt. Appreciate kindness when you receive it. Let it get to you, the good and the bad.
Bryan McKenzie has a pastor to pray for as he writes of eternal damnation in To Deny Hell posted at THEOdyssey
In this season that's all about an irresistable Baby and His unsheltered and refugee family, the Part-Time Pundit looks at the consequences of easy abortion, namely it is easy for abused women to be pushed to have abortions, in his post, The Problem with the Culture of Drive-Thru Abortions
Rev Bill has found a story that gives a new twist to an old truth.
In Jesus the spy, Michael at Tantalizing if True exposes Christmas as a thrilling tale of international intrigue.
Jack Yoest presents Rocky Balboa: Courage, Integrity, Faith, Victory The Movie posted at Reasoned Audacity. The Yoests were in Philadelphia recently and wondered about the Rocky statue that was briefly at the top of the 72 steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Since September, the statue is now at the base of the steps. So Jack decided to ask the man who might know, Sylvester Stallone.
Know your opposition, advises Stephen of Practical Quandary in his post Exploring the Secular Mindset. This article presents some arguments against religion and Christianity from the secular point of view. Understanding the viewpoint of a non-Christian is the first step to being able to connect with them and be able to effectively share the Christian's viewpoint on reality.
Hiyasmin Linatoc presents A Way to Meet God posted at Mind, Heart, and Mysteries. Drawing heavily on the insights of, among others, the Christian thinkers Timothy Radcliffe and Simone Weil, he write of how we can overcome being "fretful about many things" [that's Luke 10:21].
This old-time theology student, with notebooks full of "Xp" and "Xpian" and "Xp-ity" got a bit of a kick from Matt Jones' post Get the X out of X-mas! at Random Acts of Verbiage.
The Evangelical Ecologist is sharing the true meaning of Christmas with his green friends this year in a post called The Uniqueness of Christian Ecology -- The Messiah. Before we can truly address pollution in the air or water, we have to understand how a tiny baby came to rescue mankind from the pollution of sin in our hearts.
Catez of Allthings2all gives us Kiwi reflections on T.S. Eliot's Journey of the Magi during a downunder Christmas, in Travelling for Beauty
Brett at Seek Truth thinks that maybe it's time to reconsider our plan of attack in the war on Christmas.
Many churches seem to think everyone is in a family. But what about those who don't have families at Christmas time? Sadly, but fortunately, these "strays" can take care of each other, proposes Diane of Crossroads.
The Codex: Resources for Biblical Studies Blogspot offers us Christmas According to John (in two parts). [here's the link for part 2] This post looks at a couple of Bible passages that may at first glance be unlikely candidates for a Christmas message. Both are attributed to the Apostle John, and both also give accounts of the birth of Jesus, so to speak: The first Tyler dubs John’s “Apocalyptic Advent” (Revelation 12) and second is John’s “Metaphysical Manger” (the first chapter of John’s Gospel, which is one of the four assigned Gospel readings for Christmas in the Lectionaries used by some of the churches).
Kara of Everyday Liturgy reflects on how to look at the Holidays from outside of the American cultural experience in Traditions.
Brian at Real Meal Ministries has written a post on understanding Bible translation in order to help readers make informed decisions among some of the available English translations of the Scriptures.
Renovate Your Life with Craig sends the Carnival Multi-dimensional Health.... (I'm not a body; it's just where I live). Craig writes: Put up your hand if you think that we're all one-dimensional (i.e. physical) beings. Just as I thought; no-one. Now, put up your hand if you think we're amazing, complex, multi-dimensional, physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual beings. Knew it; a whole bunch of you. Except you up the back who's too important to put your hand up for anything. It's okay, the rest of us love you anyway. Here, have a cyber-hug... O
Mark Olson presents On Christmas ("something of a speed Limit for the holiday season") posted at Pseudo-Polymath.
Bego at A Cup of Coffee and a Random Thought shares with us her Seasonal Silliness.
Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God. In That immanent joy, John da Fiesole of Disputations discusses the relations of joy and gladness with the trials and tribulations of life, by way of prayer and fasting.
Ruth the Wheelie Catholic comments on an article about Spending Christmas alone.
Annette takes a brief look at some of the visions in Zechariah, the horsemen, craftsmen and a measuring line, at her blog Fish and Cans.
When a person struggles with a particular sin, it is important to remember what is at the root of both the problem and the solution: loving God. This week at Light Along the Journey John reminds us of this truth in his post More Than These.
Lynne Parsh reminds us all that Sharing the Gospel is Not a Fearful Event. Be not afraid. Be bold.
From Money Missions, Ben's visit to a Christmas concert by the Tijuana Choir and Opera reveals stark contrasts to some of the Holiday Ensembles found in Seattle (which I believe is Ben's home city). [Interesting comment thread follows the post]
Jeremy the Parableman looks at various responses to the problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom, in his contribution Omniscience and Freedom
At Randomness, DawnXiana does the math to find out Why I Will Never Have a Boyfriend.
And from your Carnival host, with the assistance of "Jellybean" of the Rosary Army Forums, the unavoidable correspondence and conformity that's hinted at in the special carol for yesterday, the feast of Stephen --- "and all those who bless the poor, will themselves find blessing!"