December 24th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Our Take: Rethinking Christmas

Editor's note: Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove are co-compilers of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Zondervan).

By Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Special to CNN

It’s not all that strange this time of year to see Christians outside in bathrobes, trying to keep a little baby warm in the straw of a cattle trough. (Truth be told, it’s usually a doll; but we get a real donkey from time to time.)

We Christians like to re-enact the birth of Jesus and hear the angels sing again, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” This is our good news. It feels good when our neighbors pause to listen.

But we rarely tell the whole story. The baby in a manger is cute. The shepherds in their field are quaint. The magi from the east give the whole scene some dignity.

But most of our churches are "seeker sensitive" when it comes to retelling the Christmas story. Our kids don’t dress up like the undocumented workers who do shepherds’ work today. We often fail to mention that Mary was an unwed mother. When we re-create the manger scene, we don’t reproduce the odor. We like to clean the whole thing up a bit. It makes it easier to go home and enjoy Christmas dinner.

As much as both of us love a good meal with our families, we’re pretty sure Jesus didn’t come to initiate a sentimental pause in holiday consumption. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us," John’s gospel says. Jesus moved into the neighborhood, and it wasn’t necessarily good for property values.

Christmas reminds us how Jesus interrupts the world as it is to reveal the world as it ought to be. When we pay attention to the story, it exposes our desperate need for a better way. This always makes some people mad.

When King Herod got the news that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem, he issued a national security directive that every boy 2 and younger should be killed. As we remember this part of the story, we take in the harsh truth that there was and still is a political cost to the incarnation of God’s peaceable love.

Such a holy feast day of mourning provokes our political memory and prompts us to remember the Iraqi civilians who have died since the U.S. invasion in 2003. On such a day, we don’t consider these deaths to be the necessary sacrifice of “collateral damage”; we lament their deaths as acts of our contemporary Herods.

And we proclaim that another way is possible. Though Jesus was persecuted as a homeless refugee, he survived Herod’s sword to proclaim the reign of God and invite a ragtag band of disciples into the way of peaceable love — a way that culminates in Jesus willingly submitting himself to the state-sanctioned violence of the death penalty.

Though Christians have often been guilty of betraying the way of Jesus for more "sensible" strategies to make a difference in the world, Christmas is a check on our self-confidence. We can’t write off the Iranians as enemies we don’t need. If they hadn’t sent their wise men, the rest of us might well have missed Jesus altogether.

So we celebrate, but our story always reminds us that our holiday is more radical than we might want it to be.

When we gather for our Christmas parties, we recall that Jesus said not to invite the neighbors who'll have you over to their house (or shop at your store), but to go out in the street and celebrate with the folks whom no one else will welcome.

When we sing praises to the Prince of Peace, we commit to love our enemies, even the ones we call terrorists.

When we give gifts, we remember St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, who took the church’s gold and gave it to poor families in hope that they would not sell their daughters into slavery to put food on the table.

Shaped by this memory, we become God’s peculiar people — not just because we stand out in the cold in our bathrobes, but because we stand with victims of sex trafficking. Inspired by the saints who’ve gone before us, we make sacrifices to reduce our carbon footprint and open our homes to unwanted children.

Even in hard economic times, we tap our resources to build wells for clean water, and we listen to our friends who drink from those wells. Ours is a new "we" that extends our "family values" to sisters and brothers who speak different languages and don’t look like us. We see with our own eyes that a new world is already getting born.

And the angels rejoice. As always, some people — especially people with power — get mad. But Christmas helps us remember that this is how it always is. And this is how God saves the world.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Christmas • Holidays • Opinion

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soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Ibizad Bernadettev

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    July 11, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  2. Earthman

    Good points. There were milliions of folks born who never knew about the story of Jesus who lived and died before the story ever reached them. The way was made for all and not exclusive to those who used his name. The bible was shoved down peoples throats as the ONLY source of God's word and if anyone dared disagree....... well that's what bonfires were for. Christians have a well established history of being quite intolerant of even different sects within their own group. I often wonder ..... if the name of Jesus is so important as to the salvation of everyone's soul, why not use the name he was called by his parents, friends and such. Jesus is the Greek version. As you said, folks just follow tradition without ever going to the top of the mountain themselves.

    December 28, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  3. PJC

    Lets not confuse the spirit of Christ with the spirit of humanitarianism. Christ was born into this world but not of this world. His cause was so that all whom would come would have ever lasting life. Decorations and trees, presents and Santa have nothing to do with the birth of Christ. It is a most somber thought for all those that lived in that day including Christ himself who would be rejected by his own people much like he is today. We all should live our lives based on experience not by traditions striving for perfection in our own hearts and minds setting examples along the way.

    December 28, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • cleric84

      I think what the authors are trying to show is not humanitarianism, but that Jesus represented the right way humans should live on this earth and gave people the power to do this through his death and resurrection. Through his death and resurrection humans are given the power of God in the Holy Spirit, which brings them life now and in the age to come. This H.S. is who helps and empowers Christians to live like Jesus now because Jesus' vision is for his kingdom to come now and he will complete it in the age to come. Christians miss this when they put their allegiance with the "Herods" that are out there, (namely the U.S.), so they easily see Iranians, Iraqis, etc. as enemies to destroy, not love. When your allegiance is with the nation state, you want to eliminate any challenges to the nation. It's really an allegiance question; who do you follow?

      December 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  4. Earthman

    Kieth: Thou speakest the oldenth english. Doth that maketh thou feel HOLY? Thou getteth the point don'teth thou Or art thou one of the ones the scripture says has eyes but does not "SEE"? Did I misquote anything there. You are right , the bible gives certain folks the right to dole out capital punishment when there are unworthy ones inhabiting the land that is needed for GOD'S chosen one's. Palestinians, Native Americans, doth thou getteth my point Keith? I will quote a great leader, another Earthman, but I must admit it is not written in the King James format so I pray you will keep an open mind as to it's validity. "Can things go well in a land where freedom of religion is a lie, a hollow boast? To each nation is given the Light by which it knows God, and each finds its own way to express the longing to serve Him...... if a nation does not do what is right according to its own understanding, its power is worthless." ~ Thunderchild, Plains Cree, 1849-1927 ~ Arise you gifted Kings and Queens, Close your eyes that you may see, awaken and serve the ones you Love ~ Blessings to all who read these words ~ Bearpaw, Earthman ~

    December 27, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  5. Iqbal khan


    December 27, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  6. Iqbal khan

    Surah 5

    (64) And if only the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) had believed (in Muhammad SAW) and warded off evil (sin, ascribing partners to Allâh) and had become Al¬Muttaqûn (the pious – see V.2:2) We would indeed have expiated from them their sins and admitted them to Gardens of pleasure (in Paradise). (65) And if only they had acted according to the Taurât (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord (the Qur'ân), they would surely have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet. There are from among them people who are on the right course (i.e. they act on the revelation and believe in Prophet Muhammad SAW as 'Abdullâh bin Salâm[] radhiallahu'anhu), but many of them do evil deeds. (66) O Messenger (Muhammad SAW)! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allâh will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allâh guides not the people who disbelieve. (67) Say (O Muhammad SAW) "O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! You have nothing (as regards guidance) till you act according to the Taurât (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), and what has (now) been sent down to you from your Lord (the Qur'ân)." Verily, that which has been sent down to you (Muhammad SAW) from your Lord increases in most of them (their) obstinate rebellion and disbelief. So be not sorrowful over the people who disbelieve. (68) Surely, those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh, in His Messenger Muhammad SAW and all that was revealed to him from Allâh), those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians, – whosoever believed in Allâh and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.[] (69) Verily, We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent Messengers to them. Whenever there came to them a Messenger with what they themselves desired not – a group of them they called liars, and others among them they killed. (70) They thought there will be no Fitnah (trial or punishment), so they became blind and deaf; after that Allâh turned to them (with Forgiveness); yet again many of them became blind and deaf. And Allâh is the All¬Seer of what they do.


    December 27, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  7. Earthman

    Talk about religeous intolerance: Ethinic cleansing of the indigenous folk of America including making their religions illegal, Hijacking the winter solstice celebration to be "their " holy day and now being insulted that any seasonal greeting not using the word Christmas is wrong, (Jesus is not the reson for the season, it is the fact that Light has authority over the Darkness), Even when Christianity has the most violent record of any organization on Earth the finger is pointed at other religions as being intolerant. Much is made about displaying the 10 commandments in public places. I wonder if any Christians have actually read them. Remembring the Saboth, keeping it holy. (sundown Fri to sundown Sat), do not kill. They must've missed those two. Oh yeah.... by the way... King David lived in a polygamist compound and nobody even cheked the ages of either his bloodline wifes or his concubine of slave girls. Can any Christians tell us how Pine trees, reindeer are a part of birth or life in Bethlehem? To an Earth loving person, who respects life, sharing the spirit of a tree, with children and grandchildren to send prayers upward, is a part of our spirituality. To bring in a tree, adorn it with lights and decorations and watch it die, then throw it onto the rubish heaps, is very disrespectful to the Creator of all life. Remember, Jesus was not a Christian but a rebel jew and his religion was quite intolerant of him. His message was Love. "Without it we become weak and faint. Without it our self-esteem weakens and our courage fails. Without Love we can no longer look out confidently at the world. We turn inward and begin to feed on our own personalities, and little by little we destroy ourselves.With it we are creative. With it we march tirelessy. With it, and it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others." ~ Chief Dan George, 1899-1981, Coastal Salish ~ This statement sounds more like something Jesus would say than anything I have seen on this blog. Love one another people and forget defending a religion. Love and bear the weaknes of others and serve the ones you Love. ~ Bearpaw, Earthman~

    December 27, 2010 at 9:27 am |
    • Peace2All


      Well said...


      December 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
    • Keith

      Earthman, It's thou shalt not commit murder. Not kill. The Bible ordains capital punishment. There's a difference. Maybe you're the one who needs to do a little reading.

      December 27, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @Keith: Are you saying that believers are justified in killing in their gods name?

      December 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey Keith...

      I think that the point or at least one of the many very valid points, in my opinion, was that some/a lot of Christians are often saying one thing and doing another, in relationship to all of the commandments and teachings of the bible OT & NT.

      And -Eric G.'s question to you is also, to me a valid one that I was going to ask too...?


      December 27, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • Keith

      Eric G. & Peace2All, Thou shalt not commit murder. God did (and still does) allow for capital punishment and war. I don't see this as saying "allah akbar" as someone starts shooting a bunch of GI's in Fort Hood or flying a plane into a building. Is that what you mean by ordained? Killing for allah?

      December 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @Keith: Your response is disturbing. Not only do you claim to know the mind of a being that you cannot provide verifiable evidence proving it's existence, you also claim that your god that you cannot prove exists gives you the right to kill others. If you really think that you are justified in ending another human beings life because your god told you it was acceptable, you and all others who think this way are a threat to humanity and need to be dealt with. I must now consider you a danger to the safety of my children. Thank you for making yourself clear.

      December 30, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
    • Keith

      Eric G., The mind of God is found in His Word. He wants us to know it. He wants us to become intimate with HIm. God is not the author of confusion. You understand God's attributes by reading and studying His Word. So I guess the answer to your question is "yes"- I do claim to know the mind of my God. Do I know it all? No. Do I need to study it more? Yes. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. 2 Timothy 2:15-17. You should try it sometime. If you don't like it maybe you can charge me with a hate crime.....I'm sure it is soon coming. Satan sure does have you duped.

      December 31, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • Keith

      Eric G., Furthermore, you continue to put words in my mouth and make it seem as thoiugh I said something that I didn't say. You remind me of someone else who does the same thing....." Did God really say thou shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Keep twisting those word Eric, but I'm sure observers are onto you.

      January 1, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  8. The solution

    Merry Christmas One And All

    The previous 24 hours have been brought to you by intolerance. For being intollerant of religion is only one step away from the posts provided. Being intollerant of a sincel religion is exactly what the posts provided imply.. be carefull on this day of good will and peace that you provide each other with the kindness and love that each of you want and none of you are willing to give.

    December 25, 2010 at 6:12 am |
    • Peace2All

      @The Solution

      What the F...?

      December 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • Bill

      Peace2All – I agree.... After going back and reading what this person posted, i can sorta see heir point. I think they are waring people to not let a position override common sense... Sure was a slap in the face though! A primitive and brutal method indeed... but wow is that not what we are facing today?

      I guess what is even sadder is that no one reported abuse and CNN took no steps....

      CNN will sure block you if it is oriented "incorrectly" LOL 😉

      December 25, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hi Bill... Thanks for attempting to shed some light.

      O.K... I guess that is one way of looking at it.

      However, I am very curious to your last comment where... You Said: "CNN will sure block you if it is 'oriented' incorrectly"

      What orientation are you inferring or alleging that CNN will somehow 'block' you...?


      December 26, 2010 at 1:35 am |
    • Keith

      Solution, glad you're not serious. Funny how a comment I made about cats going to hell while dogs went to heaven got deleted by CNN(I assume a report abuse thing) in an article awhile back. But your's never made the grade, I guess. Cats must be more valuable to the Hard Left than human lives. At least Christians that is. Had you been serious my response was and will remain the same-people like me aren't going to go crying to CNN and play the pooooor Christian victim. Clever experiment, though.

      December 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey Keith...

      You Said: "Cats must be more valuable to the Hard Left than human lives."

      -Keith... really...? You've got to be kidding...right...? That is equally, or actually as bad-actually... worse than someone saying: All right-wing evangelicals who believe every word of the bible are total and complete idiots. Which would be a terrible over-generalization and an untruth for someone to say.

      I mean common' -Keith, your comment above, that was really ridiculous... even for you.


      December 27, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
    • Bill

      I am Christian and many times have my comments gone into the "awaiting moderation" black hole. They are not offensive but ask pointed questions about issues facing us all as residents of the same world. THIS guy was way over the top .... I would think that those comments would have been moderated out.....

      December 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Thanks for getting back to me. I am guessing that what you are experiencing are word combinations that require hyphens. Words like: const-itution ( 't-i-t' ) and circ-umstances (c-u-m) may be your problem, especially if your comments are immediately flagged. There are many, many more of these word combination traps. Many a poster, regardless of religious or non-religious affiliations, especially when they haven't learned how to get around the 'server moderator filters' often have been very frustrated.

      @Reality and @Sum Dude... often post a list of words and word combinations each day on the different articles, that show you which one's to watch out for. However, if... in the future you run into this again, after posting, hit your back arrow, and go back to your post in the reply box and look for the word combo's... find the offending word/word combo's put a hyphen in between the combo's and then hit your 'post' button again.

      Hope that this helps.


      December 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • Keith

      Peace2all, The Hard Left are responsible for the killing of millions of innocent babies. Yet these same dolts would give "rights" to animals. To me THAT is ridiculous. It just doesn't make any sense. Does it make sense to you?

      December 30, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  9. The solution

    Look at yourselves... weak ..... all talk ... people in this world have been trying to be rid of this scourge.... you all are just weak and this is why you will fall....

    December 24, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • NL

      Talk is the language of reason. I leave force and threat to those who do not have reason on their side. Peace!

      December 24, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
  10. Iqbal khan

    Check this...

    December 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  11. Michael

    Back to the point of the article, I think these guys have nailed it! I believe that as Christians we have REALLY missed the forest for the trees. Myself included! A lot of Jesus' commentary was directed at the ruling religious class of the day and it wasn't kind. If you extrapolate that out to today's community then Pharisees=modern-day Christians. We have become a somewhat bitter, pious, politically charged group and I think Christ would have no part in that. Just my 2cents.....

    December 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • NL

      You forgot 'scripture obsessed', but otherwise a fairly accurate summation of some Christians. It would be completely unfair, however, to lump all Christians into this category, agreed?

      December 24, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Michael


    How much evidence do you require? I don't say that sarcastically. It's an honest question. There is quite a bit of evidence backing up the claims of Christ and His disciples. What would be the "tipping point" for you where you would say I have no choice but to believe that these claims are in fact true?

    God Bless,


    December 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • NL

      Perhaps any evidence that is not subjective? Even accepting the Bible as true is a subjective choice, right? Otherwise you would have no reason not to accept all religious scriptures and ancient writings as equally true.

      December 24, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • David Johnson

      What evidence? I ask that in a sarcastic manner.

      December 24, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Good point and well said as always. Damn, I would hate to debate you.

      Happy Holidays my friend!

      December 24, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • NL

      David Johnson-
      Thanks! and Happy Holidays to you as well, buddy!

      December 24, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @NL & @David Johnson

      Hey Pals...

      Since, you are both here... or were here at least, "Happy Holidays" to you guys...!

      Looking forward to more insightful debates and discourse in 2011...!


      December 25, 2010 at 5:43 am |
    • Bob

      @Michael Not much, only logical deductions that are based on facts. That's all.

      First of all, you'd have to prove to me that Jesus Christ existed. I really don't see much evidence for this. Maybe you can point me in the right direction. And no Josephus isn't evidence. He talks about what "people are saying".

      Second of all, you'd have to prove that even if Jesus existed, what he did was a miracle and not a magic trick.

      Thirdly, given that you can prove that the miracles are genuine, you'd have to prove to me that God wants me to follow Christianity.

      Here's what I won't accept as evidence: Philosophy, the Bible, personal opinion/experience.


      December 28, 2010 at 7:51 am |
    • Bob

      I always LOL when someone brings up philosophical proof in a discussion.

      You'll never hear this conversation between two reasearchers "Phil, we scientists have proven that the higgs boson does exist, but what does philosophy say about the particle".

      "It doesn't like it Bob."

      "Well then, it must not exist."

      December 28, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  13. CatholicMom

    Surely you have some Truth to share…..what do you believe in?

    December 24, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • Eric G.

      I can't speak for Bob, but I subscribe to verifiable evidence as the basis for my perception of reality. My method requires no belief, only evidence. More importantly, with the "evidence=reality" method, any beliefs not based in verifiable evidence have no effect on reality. So yes CatholicMom, you can believe anything you like. Just admit that if it is not based on evidence, it is not reality.

      December 24, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Eric G.

      As always my friend... 'stellar' response.


      December 25, 2010 at 5:40 am |
    • SR

      @ Erin G. I like how you say that evidence changes your perception of reality because that is what evidence does. In the end you say though that something that is not based on evidence is not reality. Does that mean everything based on evidence is reality? I sure don't hope so for several reasons. The first one is that some of the most cruel acts in history were based on "evidence" for example racism and the Holocaust. Of course now we know that all the evidence were not real but was all of that okay but was all of that okay, just because at that time it was evidence based an real? The second is that things like the idea that the world is flat was also based on evidence. Of course that is wrong we know that now. But did reality change? I am pretty sure the earth was always round people just started seeing it. So my point is evidence don't change reality only ones perception of,like you first said, so in reality there might be a God and you simply have not found the evidence for it yet. I mean that is a possibility right?
      Another thing is are you open for evidence? There is a book called "The evidence that demands a verdict" that I found really helpful. It sure changed my perception of reality. If you are really honest you at least have to consider the other sides evidence.
      Merry Christmas

      December 25, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • Don

      SR, check out Jeff Lowder's "Verdict Which Demands Evidence". You should know that Josh McDowell is an utter fraud, too. Same with Strobel.

      December 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • Charla

      Compared to last year, this schedule is emxretely favorable for several reasons:- Through November we have as many home as road games (good prospects for a fast start and momentum building, compared to last year's brutal start to the season)- We play 2 of 3 at home against BOTH the Lakers (we've won 8 in a row at home) and San Antonio (we won both games at home last season), and last season we played those teams 4 times each- We have no road trip longer than 5 games and we have 2 of those (and on the first we play only 2 teams that made the playoffs last season and on the second we play only 1) compared to last season when we had 3 of those (and played 2, 3 and 2 playoff teams on those trips)

      October 8, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  14. CatholicMom

    The old made new by young minds! And yet, Truth never changes though some try to rewrite or say more or say less than was given to us. Many people have their favorite Christmas story they like to share and it all stems from the very first Christmas! Merry Christmas to all and may Truth always shine forth!

    December 24, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • Bob

      The truth will never be found when people hold onto beliefs a fact simply because they want to while rejecting other's faith for the exact same reason. "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." Is there any other more poinant symbol that this mind is closed for business and won't be accepting any new ideas or concepts?

      December 24, 2010 at 11:52 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Speak up! What new Truth do you have?

      December 24, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • The Solution

      Bob, you are correct... you show the false nature of Christianity... you prove it is an evil that is abroad in the world .... We must exterminate it. Remove any trace of its very existence from the face of the earth.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • Keith

      The Solution, Are you sure your name isn't the "final solution"? It's been tried by Hitler already. He lost. I doubt you have the balls to implement this yourself-but if you do know this- we all won't go quietly. A Brenneke 12 guage Black Magic Magnum slug makes a hell of a hole in pretty much anything it hits. But, we may not have to lift a finger. After all, the Lord sent an angel who killed 185,000 Assyrians one night after supper. Either way, give it your best shot you Nazi piece of trash.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bob

      > Bob, Speak up! What new Truth do you have?

      I dont' come bearing truth. Truth is demonstrated, something that I can't do as well as I should on a blog.

      However, there is one truth that everyone should ascribe to, belief in anything without evidence isn't a virture, it's silly.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Dude! Cut back on the red meat. At worst religion is a bad joke. No one needs to die over a comedy of errors.

      Most believers are deluded, not evil. If the fundies were not here, I would miss them. They tickle my funny bone.

      Be cool!

      December 24, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • NL

      David Johnson-
      "Most believers are deluded, not evil. If the fundies were not here, I would miss them. They tickle my funny bone."

      Sure, their arguments can be entertaining, but I don't find their opposition to stem cell research, same s.ex marriage and some other things very funny at all. Sorry buddy; the Solution may be a few Wise Men short of a manger scene, but the Religious Right causes a lot of real pain in this world, despite their claims of good intentions. The sooner moderate Christians grow a pair and tell these folks to shove their bibles back into their pants the better.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Well said my friend...!


      December 25, 2010 at 4:41 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      I think truth does shine forth. CatholicMom is a truth talker most of the time. Truth can be hard to perceive sometimes, but it exists. The truth of God is the miraculous nature of the world (it is all around you); the truth of Jesus is in the life He gives to you (but you will need to study before you know what that is); the truth of the Holy Spirit is the miracle of life (your life and those around you). So much of this is NOT learned in a book. It is learned by living it. If you are so comfortable (privileged) that you cannot experience hard work, fear, hunger, love, giving, caring, hope, beauty then you probably cannot learn those dimensions of your being .. or of God's being. They are the truths you cannot receive... you have to go after them.

      December 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • NL

      By the same argument we skeptics can argue that unless you study science, get into the field, collect samples, experiment, live and work with science then it's possibly understandable why you reject what science teaches us. Don't just accept what some preacher tells you about science. Go out there and find the answers for yourself. Study it, put it to the test, look for faults and publish your findings which is what scientists actually do to their own work.

      December 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  15. Benjamin Vineyard

    Shane and Jonathan,

    Thanks for your note here. I appreciate your call to be attentive to Jesus, the ways of Jesus, and to be filled with wonder about what God is doing in our world.

    May God continue to guide us and open our eyes to see himself and others around and beyond our individual selves and egos.


    December 24, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  16. Rick Lord

    "When we pay attention to the story, it exposes our desperate need for a better way. This always makes some people mad." An excellent reminder from the authors that our Christmas narrative needs to be rooted in the life, wisdom, and risk-taking love of the one who shared our human nature and who lived and died as one of us. What we need to proclaim at Christmas is this narrative can change our lives and our world, but change we must.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:14 am |
    • Fabiola Ribeiro

      You're absolutely right. Change we must LOL I'm sounding like Yoda. But yeah is true, for this world to be changed we need to believe in God, have faith in him, love him and every human on earth cus he asks that from us. Christ-mas is just that, remind us of the day God became flesh and came to this earth to save us all, he loved us sooo much that he sacrificed his own life to save us. This is why people who believe in God feel so joyful and want to share God's love with everyone, and one of those ways is sharing these good news: God loves you, scripture says "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" Mathew 7:7. Leave pride and reason behind you, and open the door and let God enter your life and feel God's love 🙂 Merry Christ-mas everyone =) Love you all ^^

      December 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  17. Reality

    Christmas, the embellished story of the birth of a simple, preacher man named Jesus.

    As per most contemporary NT exegetes, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.

    Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

    "John P. Meier – Professor at Notre Dame

    Meier [Marginal Jew I,216-219] notes that the "affirmation of Jesus' descent from David might easily be placed alongside his birth at Bethlehem as a theologoumenon (a theological insight narrated as a historical event) if it were not for the fact that numerous and diverse streams of NT tradition also affirm Jesus' Davidic lineage."

    "Meier suggests that the belief that Jesus was "son of David" may have been held by Jesus' followers prior to his death, with his resurrection then being understood as a form of enthronement. However, he notes that such messianic views, whatever their provenance, cannot prove Jesus was "literally, biologically of Davidic stock."


    December 24, 2010 at 8:04 am |
    • The Solution

      More Proog of the lies of this evil religion named christianity. It must be stopped.... we must remove this blight from the earth for the sake of all humankind

      December 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • NL

      The Solution-
      Don't you think that you might be a little too harsh there, buddy? A lot of people can be Christian without using it as an excuse to claim power and be judgmental. The meek believers that Jesus admired so much don't cause nearly as much harm as the politically crusading Christian Right, do they?

      December 24, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
    • The solution

      NJo I am not being harsh. Their religion is evil, it corrupts innocent people and lures them into its evil grasp with soft words .... then you aqre trapped and doomed. Humankind must be rid of this menace once and for all. I have been reading these forums and find that most people here say the same thing... Is there no truth to their words.? Have they been corrupted?

      December 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  18. David Johnson

    The article said:
    "When King Herod got the news that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem, he issued a national security directive that every boy 2 and younger should be killed."

    This is yet another fabrication.
    Josephus, a Jewish historian, records much about Herod, and that not even he mentions the alleged case of the slaughter of the Bethlehem babies. Joesephus would have loved to add this act to his list of atrocities committed by Herod!

    There is no evidence this ever occurred, outside of what is written in the gospel of Mathew. NONE!

    The gospels are a bag of hot air.

    Think Happy Thoughts!

    December 24, 2010 at 7:42 am |
    • joeywahoo

      Maybe. But Bethlehem was such a small town, the number of males babies 2 years old and under were probably fewer than 10. Reading the magnitude of the atrocities of Herod that were recorded by Josephus and others, the murder of a few kids in a little village likely just wasn't big news, even if widely known.
      Josephus and others record plainly the fact that Herod was paranoid and homicidal, as evidenced by how many of his own family he had killed and the ridiculous lenghts he went to to protect himself from perceived threats to his power. Whether this event happened or not is debatable, but it wouldn't be out of character. Peace.

      December 24, 2010 at 8:03 am |
    • CatholicMom

      David Johnson,
      Not everything is written in the Bible! Just ask your mother.

      December 24, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • CRAIG


      December 24, 2010 at 10:55 am |
    • Bob

      @Craig I think you're mistaking the bible for God. God cannot be proven to be true or not to be true. The bible can however, and has been shown to be untrue in spots.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:49 am |
    • CatholicMom

      It may appear that way to some but most likely is due to incorrect interpretation.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • The Solution

      David, you are 100% correct. This religion must be removed from the face of the earth!. Exterminate all Christians and destroy all artifcates of this evil and violent religion.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Keith

      And for his next trick, David will tell us how we all evolved from slime that was struck by lightning-citing credible resources, of course.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • Fabiola Ribeiro

      Yeah of course there's no proof. We believe in the scripture inspired byt God and in God because we believe that by faith. He calls us to have faith in him without having to see "proof." Those who didn't have faith back when he was on earth also didn't believe he was the Mesiah yet he sacrificed his own life to save us all. Please people don't make this a war, like I'm not trying to make you believe anything, I know people especially in countries like the U.S. are very logical and smart. But God goes beyond all our material posessions, intelligence, etc he offers us a peaceful lifestyle you just have to believe in him without any proof, nothing, he won't gain anything, I won't gain anything, christians won't gain anything. But you my brother, you will, only you 🙂

      December 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Don

      joey, Josephus lived barely 2 miles from where Bethlehem was. He would have known about it. The slaughter of the innocents simply never happened. It is not recorded in any text other than the bible and other christian literature. It never happened.

      December 24, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Don is totally correct. You should listen to him. The bible cannot be the inspired word of god. It contains errors.

      If there is one error, can there not be 2 or 1000? Can you believe any of it?

      Do you really want to waste your one and only life on a book of bad fiction?

      Love and Prayers my fundies!

      December 24, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @The Solution

      Why do you leap from eliminate all religion (excellent goal) to "exterminate all Christians" ( stupid goal advocating violence) – isn't this just a bit of an over-reaction? Or are using "loaded" words to make a reasonable suggestion seem very radical, or to gather sympathy for the poor, poor "victim" christians?

      December 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      @Dave, one explanation

      Question, why do you put faith in Josephus the historian, but not Luke the historian?

      December 28, 2010 at 8:44 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.