By Arielle Hawkins, CNN
Silver Spring, Maryland (CNN) - Guitars strummed and the cheerful voices of young and old sang “Feliz Navidad” as people in the streets cheered the birth of Christ with Spanish lyrics and upbeat rhythms in Oakview, a neighborhood in Silver Spring.
Though it wasn’t immediately apparent, these members of St. Camillus Church weren’t caroling, but were celebrating the Central American Catholic tradition of Las Posadas. The celebration comes just as the world celebrates the birth of Jesus on Tuesday.
The religious event commemorates the grueling journey of the Virgin Mary and Joseph as they traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a haven to give birth to their son. This year, St. Camillus celebrated the Christmas tradition Friday through Sunday.
The nativity story narrates how the Virgin Mary and her husband were turned away from inn after inn until a kind man allowed them to rest their heads in a barn. The word “posada” translates to “inn” or “lodging” in English.
By Stephen Walsh, CNN
Are there really angels among us? Lorna Byrne claims she’s been able to see angels since she was a child. The Irish-born author of the international best-seller “Angels in My Hair” says guardian angels watch over believers and nonbelievers alike all the time.
So what exactly is an angel? The word angel is derived from the Greek angelos, which means "messenger." The Hebrew word malak has the same meaning. Christian theology teaches that angels are pure spirits created by God who carry out his will on Earth.
Byrne told CNN’s Dana Bash that she sees a multitude of angels that only appear around Christmastime. Watch the video to hear her describe what they look like and hear her advice to skeptics.
What do you think? Are angels real? Leave your comments below.
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:
Photo credit: Getty Images
CNN: Religious leaders launch campaign for gun control
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.
Photo credit: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images
CNN: The Belief Blog's guide to kitschy Christmas gifts
As shoppers scour malls and web portals looking for the perfect last-minute Christmas gift, we humbly present a few ideas of faithy kitsch.
Tweet of the Day:
If you were given every gift in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (including mentions in multiple rounds), you'd get 364 total gifts.— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 23, 2012
If you were given every gift in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (including mentions in multiple rounds), you'd get 364 total gifts.
By Amy Roberts, CNN
(CNN) - With Christmas comes Christmas trivia. Here's a look at the holiday by the numbers:
30.8 million – Real Christmas trees purchased in the United States in 2011.
16 - Percentage of real trees sold that were "cut-your own."
4.1% – Expected amount of increased holiday sales in the United States in 2012 over last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
586.1 billion – Amount of expected total sales, if they do increase by 4.1%.
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.