By The CNN Belief Blog Editors
(CNN) - As shoppers scour malls and web portals looking for the perfect last-minute Christmas gift, we humbly present a few ideas of faithy kitsch.
The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas can be traced back to the birth of Jesus, who Christians say is the son of God, believed to have taken on full humanity to save the world from sin.
The Christmas narrative found in the Gospel of Matthew tells the story of three wise men from the East, who followed a star to visit Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. When they found them, the men worshiped Jesus and presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
In lieu of such hard-to-find items, here are some wonderfully kitschy Christmas gifts:
The perfect gift for the budding tycoon who wants to start "In the Beginning." It's like Monopoly, but for church. Instead of going to jail, you go to meditate.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – With the bells of the Washington National Cathedral ringing 28 times – honoring all those killed in last week’s Connecticut shooting – a broad group of religious leaders on Friday called on their congregations, the White House and Congress to do more to combat gun violence.
“We gather as religious leaders both to commemorate the one-week marker of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and to call our people and the nation to action,” said the Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral. “As clergy, we in our traditions know something about suffering, and we know something about our shared faith that love is finally stronger than anything, including hate and including death.”
The group assembled outside the cathedral, comprising religious leaders from almost all the major faith traditions in the United States, said it is fighting for three specific goals: the outlawing of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, tightening controls on the sale of all guns and improving access to mental health care.
The event featured leaders from evangelical and mainline Protestant traditions, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.
On top of asking clergy to discuss gun control, the group said it would ask congregants to participate in a national call-in day to Congress on February 5.
By Arielle Hawkins, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
From the Blog:
CNN: Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion. Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.
Tweet of the Day:
#Vatican crows that #Pope #Benedict beats Justin #Bieber on #re-tweets reut.rs/UbrEHR #twitter #retweet #catholic #church— Tom Heneghan (@RTRFaithWorld) December 20, 2012
#Vatican crows that #Pope #Benedict beats Justin #Bieber on #re-tweets reut.rs/UbrEHR #twitter #retweet #catholic #church
Belief on TV:
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.