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December 25th, 2012
05:30 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Tuesday, December 25

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:


A statue of the Archangel Gabriel stands on a 36 metre high Corithian Column in Budapest's Heroes' square.

CNN: Author Lorna Byrne: I see angels
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.

CNN: Las Posadas: Joseph and the Virgin Mary travel in Maryland
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.

Belief on TV:

Photos of the Day:

Foud Twal, the Latin Patriarch of the Holy Land, holds the Baby Jesus in Saint Catherine's Church at the end of the Christmas Midnight Mass and walks in procession to the 'Grotto', where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, in the adjacent Church of the Nativity on December 25, 2012 in Bethlehem, West Bank. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Church of the Nativity this week to worship at the sacred site believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.

Enlightening Reads:

Reuters: Pakistan’s loneliest church celebrates Christmas in Taliban territory
This Christmas, Pastor Nazir Alam will stoke up a fire, lay a fresh cloth on the altar and welcome parishioners as they arrive at his church in Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal area known as an al-Qaeda haven. “The lights are all up, and the choir boys are ready. The church is looking its best,” said 60-year-old Alam, a former missionary who has celebrated his last ten Christmases there. “There’s not much left to do but to pray and rejoice.”

Religion News Service: Ask the Experts: Christmas Questions Edition
Religion is a vast territory, and it’s always nice to find fellow travelers. Even better, a guide. With that in mind, we’re starting a new feature here at RNS called “Ask the Experts.” The idea is, readers like you send in questions about theology, history, literature, or any topic related to religion, and we’ll contact scholars to find out the answers.

New York Times: Illinois Clergy Members Support Same-Sex Marriage in Letter Signed by 260
More than 250 religious leaders in Illinois have signed an open letter in support of same-sex marriage, which the legislature is likely to take up in January. This is not the first time members of the clergy have endorsed same-sex marriage, but the public nature of the letter and the number of signatures made it an especially strong statement.

Quote of the Day:

So Christ is our peace, and he proclaimed peace to those far away and to those near at hand (cf. Eph 2:14, 17). How could we now do other than pray to him: Yes, Lord, proclaim peace today to us too, whether we are far away or near at hand. Grant also to us today that swords may be turned into ploughshares (Is 2:4), that instead of weapons for warfare, practical aid may be given to the suffering. Enlighten those who think they have to practise violence in your name, so that they may see the senselessness of violence and learn to recognize your true face. Help us to become people “with whom you are pleased” – people according to your image and thus people of peace.

– Pope Benedict XVI at Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter's Basilica.

Join the conversation…


The figure of Santa Clause is based on a fourth-century saint, the original St. Nicholas.

CNN: My Take: The Christmas message of the real St. Nicholas
Adam C. English, associate professor of religion at Campbell University and author of "The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of St. Nicholas of Myra," discusses his quest to learn the truth about St. Nicholas and how it led him to Italy’s Adriatic coast.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Romona Gutman

    Almost all spiders are venomous. That's how they hunt. Most spiders are too small, or their venom too weak, to be dangerous to humans. Some spiders are pretty well known and seem to get blamed for most of the spider bites out there.:;.."

    Newest posting on our web-site
    <http://www.healthmedicinejournal.com/

    July 5, 2013 at 12:22 am |
  2. Mrs. Pepperpot

    AB, wherever you are, I bought The Hobbit yesterday.
    I love it, so far!

    December 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Akira

      What a coincidence, Mrs. Pepperpot!
      So did I!

      December 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Pepperpot and Akira. Beware! I came in during the Tolkien renaissance during the 70’s. The Hobbit led to LOTR, led to dictionaries, let to biographies, let to the Silmarillion, led to the the lost books, led to the translations, led to the children's books, etc. etc. It is a wonderful journey. I hope you enjoy it as I did and still do. My Tolkien shelf includes every known publication and I cherish them.

      December 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm |

    • Fantasies. But you know they're fantasies, right?

      December 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      @Fantasies

      Fantasy? Of course not. Truth is relative.

      December 25, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • fred

      In order for truth to be relative man must elevate himself above God. That can be done by lowering God to the level of man or rejecting God.

      December 25, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Akira

      Hey, Apple:
      My sister and I were talking about which came first: the Hobbit, or...?
      I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

      @Fantasy:
      I know the difference.

      December 26, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Akira

      "In order for truth to be relative man must elevate himself above God. That can be done by lowering God to the level of man or rejecting God."
      Well, I am a woman, so your point is pointless...and unprofound.

      December 26, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • fred

      Akira
      Man is over the woman yet both have equality in Gods eyes that is the truth which did not change simply because society thinks order is relative.

      December 26, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Truth is truth. It's not relative; we are relative, and our understanding is relative. Morality, certainly is relative. Truth simply is.

      December 26, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Akira

      fred:
      Well, that's nice to know.
      I wonder why the Bible doesn't seem to give that same equality.
      In any case, the conversation was a (formerly) light-hearted conversation on The Hobbit.
      You have yourself a lovely evening now, as that conversation seems to be over now.

      December 26, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Akira

      fred:
      And as for your assertion that man is over woman: pfft.
      Take a page out of your God's book: get over your misogynistic thinking and get over your yourself.

      December 26, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  3. S Kopfter

    "I bet you think all rubberheads throw fish." – Steve Martin, comedian.

    December 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Blockhead

      They do and everyone knows it! So there!

      December 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Fronk N. Steen

      I want to call you a rubberhead.

      December 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Bubblehead

      .

      December 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Tony Esplanada, President, Fish-Thrower's Union Local 3238

      I protest this base calumny against all fish-throwers everywhere! How dare you, sir!

      December 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  4. Sam Yaza

    happy birthday;

    Horus
    Mithras
    Marduk
    Dionysus
    Wu Kong
    Lugh Lámhfhada
    Odin
    Amaterasu / and the other two siblings....

    did i miss one,... no cant be Jesus he was born in May

    December 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  5. S Kopfter

    "The acrid stench, the miasma of foulness that assailed their nostrils was indeed the one known as Chad, but they came well-prepared with long-handled farm implements whereupon they carried him over to the midden heap where he came from."
    - Chapter 2, verse 8. Book of Japthet

    December 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  6. S Kopfter

    "Lo" said the angel as the people of Harrton watched her dance around the pole, "I have come to give you gratis a view of Heaven for the wealth you do have is nothing compared to it."
    And then did their eyes bung out with lust and desire, for the angel started removing a Holey Garment whereupon rays of light shot out with the force of a thousand suns and blinded all those present.
    "I shall turn down the Heavenly Disco Lights," said one of the cherubic attendants. And the people did rejoice.
    - Verse Seven, Gospel of Zeke L

    December 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Harry Pommes

      Where's the rest of this book? Where can I find a copy??????Where????

      December 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Akira

      ..." their eyes bung out with lust and desire..."
      This got me cracking up...inspired writing, truly.

      December 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  7. Apple Bush

    What Christmas means to me my Apple Bush:

    1. Serial Killers
    2. Prescription drugs
    3. Squashing innocent insects.
    4 My mom smashing my step father over the head with a pan.
    5. Alcoholics
    6. Heroin addicts and crack heads
    7 Teenage moms abusing their kids
    8 Clubbing baby seals
    9. Over fishing
    10. Disney TV
    11. Falsely imprisoned people.
    12. Prison rape
    13. Corrupt cops
    14. Tweekers
    15. Dealers
    16. Genocide
    17. The end of the American Indian
    18. Al Qaida
    19. Anti-biotic decline
    20. Bed sores
    21. Killer storms
    22. The moment when a parent must choose.
    23. The junk yard full of toxins that will kill us all.

    December 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  8. Correctlycenter

    Christians know that Christ was not born on December 25th, but we celebrate His glorious birth regardless. Happy Birthday to my Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Messiah, King of kings, JESUS CHRIST. We love you Lord...

    December 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    What Chrstmas means to me by Apple Bush:
    1. Death
    2 Destructon
    3. Horror
    4. Misery
    5. Sicknss
    6. Despair
    7. Rape
    8. Lies
    9. Torture
    10. Mental Illness
    11. Cancer
    12. Child Abuse
    13. Genocide
    14. Female Castration
    15. Drug Abuse
    16. Kidknapping
    17. Nucleur Weapens
    18.Gang Rape
    19. Christians
    20. Baby rape
    21. Child torture
    22. North Korea
    23. Iran
    24. dismemberment
    25. flesh eating bacteria
    26. hunters
    27. NRA
    28. mental illness
    29. bone cancer
    30. War
    31. Babies with flies laying eggs in their eyes
    32. oil spills
    33. jet crashes
    34. smog and pollution
    35. contaminated rivers an streams
    36. extinction
    37. Acid rain
    38. school shootings
    39. mass kilings
    40 skin cancer
    41. a beating with a belt by dad
    42. underage prostitution
    43. snuff films
    44. nuclear weapons

    December 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Correctlycenter

      You have issues only God can resolve, I will pray for you. Merry Christmas...

      December 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      What Christmas means to me part 2:

      1. Preists raping little boys
      2. Black Widow spider bites
      3. Radiation
      4. Uncles fondling their neices
      5. Murder for drug money
      6. Green House Gasses
      7. Destruction of the Reefs
      8. Extinction of the whales
      9. Slash and burn farming at the equator
      10. Little boys burning grasshappers with magnifying glasses
      11. Black market for human organs
      12. Whores
      13. Disneyland
      14. Sea World
      15. Trash barges
      16. Dying sea turtles
      17. Captive children
      18. Incest
      19.Mornons
      20. Country Music

      December 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      @Correctlycenter

      If God can resolve them, then why doesn't he genius?

      December 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Poltergeist

      I dunno, He probably finds you amusing as is or something.

      December 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • FarFlung

      We have been cast into Hell because we failed to find where God has been hiding since eternity began. Gosh, what a horrible place this is, though. No clean water, no clean air, nothing but orc talk and filthy scraps instead.
      But where to look? It's too late. There is no god here to find. That's the definition of Hell, right? Except for some other things that also don't make any sense, it is clear this is some sort of hell for idiotic animals who get confused over abstract notions without any reason to do so.

      December 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    Email

    Email

    Michigan center Elliott Mealer, right, accompanies his brother, Brock, onto the field before the 2010 season opener against UConn. Brock was given a 1 percent chance of walking after being paralyzed in a Christmas Eve car crash in 2007.Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    CLEARWATER, Fla. - Christmas Eve remains a day that conjures memories of death and destruction for Elliott Meal
    It was five years ago, on Christmas Eve night, that a 90-year-old man slid through a stop sign and struck the Mealer family's SUV near Wauseon, Ohio. Elliott's father, David, and girlfriend, Hollis Richer, were killed. His brother, Brock, was paralyzed

    December 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Anne

      Apple, we get it. You're in a bad way. I hope someone finds you, shows you some love and things improve. For the rest of us, it's Christmas Day and we're celebrating. Let the rest of us have our day of peace and love.

      December 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Anne, you get nothing. Everything is in a bad way. We live in hell. Don't you see? We missed it. We are bad. This is the bad place. Pretend all you want. The evidence is clear and God laughs a you.

      December 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  11. mama k

    That Archangel Gabriel (pictured above) sure is an ugly sucker. I'm stopping off at the Home Depot tomorrow and getting a larger fly swatter.

    December 25, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Go Get 'Em

      Go get 'em, mama k! We'll back you up. That cross and that crown are dripping with human blood and misery. Begone!

      December 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Michael

      Proof that artists gave angels their wings.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Akira

      It's a bit of a stretch to call the person who made that statue an "artist."

      December 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • S Kopfter

      "Booty is between the thighs of Debby Holder." – Mr. Holder

      December 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • FarFlung

      Is booty between the thighs of Mrs Holder? Inquiring minds want to know! Show us the pics!

      December 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • S Kopfter

      Correction:
      "Beauty is in the thighs of Debbie Holder." – Debbie Holder's husband, Mr. Holder

      We apologize for the inconvenience.

      December 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  12. lionlylamb

    May today mark one with joyousness and thanks giving toward those who were all made beforehand and did raise us all up to become of the nowadays; a more kinder lot of people in the masses of ever living in ongoing life onto the forever of our treasured wills and wants!

    Let Us Love,
    Lettuce Love.
    G.O.D.
    God's Oldest Dreamer

    December 25, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Apple Bush

      May today always bare fond remembrance of those killed in drunk driving accidents and terminal illnesses. Thank you god and merry Christmas. Don’t forget to praise and remember the children starving to death in African too. Go Jesus!.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  13. Chick-a-dee

    Joyeux Noel! May we bring about God's peace. Vatican Radio has internet broadcast of Midnight mass from St Peter's in Rome.

    December 25, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  14. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    May this be the last day of the dark ages of religion and the day that mankind takes a serious step towards truly shedding god and death cult myths.

    December 25, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  15. lionlylamb

    Peace and love toward all on this most joyous day of remembrance!

    Lettuce Love,
    Let Us Love!
    G.O.D.
    God's Oldest Dreamer

    December 25, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • amdfoaidf

      Remembering your salad days, eh?

      December 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  16. niknak

    Merry Mythmas everyone!
    Such a beautiful day without god(s), just like all the rest of them.

    December 25, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • truth be told

      You wouldn't know.

      December 25, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Will

      Is this where we line up for food stamps? I think I'm lost. The security guard tased me and I don't feel so good.

      December 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    We should help Mr. Ratzinger:

    Decide for yourself that today swords should be turned into ploughshares, that instead of weapons for warfare, practical aid should be given to the suffering. Enlighten those who think they have to practice violence in anyone's name, so that they may see the senselessness of violence. May we become people with whom we would like to live and thus become people of peace.

    December 25, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      The Pop is entirely too focused of the s.ex lives of women and gays and not focused enough on the abuse that passes for a s.ex life within the clergy of the church he represents.

      December 25, 2012 at 10:22 am |

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About this blog

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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.