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For some, happy holidays means no gifts

Posted: 12/14/07

For some, happy holidays means no gifts

By Michele Melendez

Religion News Service

AUSTIN (RNS)—Scrap the gift lists. Trash the wrapping paper. Blow off the mall.

That’s the mind-set of Americans who can’t stomach exchanging holiday presents. They aren’t grinches or scrooges. They just reject what they consider the wastefulness and stress of the season.

Advent: Red Letter Days
Happy New Year? For Christians it began with Advent
Christian motorcyclists and mudders bring Christmas cheer in Beaumont
Churches push Advent Conspiracy to teach real giving
Fair-trade items offer Christmas gifts with a conscience
Christmas brighter for children of military families, thanks to UMHB student project
• For some, happy holidays means no gifts
International students share Christmas joy
Who were those "wise men from the East" bearing gifts?
2nd Opinion: The two sides of advent
What if Christmas had not come?
Finding the ‘spirit of Christmas'
       

International students share Christmas joy

Posted: 12/14/07

International students share Christmas joy

By Laura Frase

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

BELTON—When Operation Christmas Child sought gifts for children in developing countries, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor international students heeded the call. For the last month, UMHB students from across the globe posted fliers, collected items and wrapped presents for children around the world.

Li-te (Anastasia) Li experiences a newfound joy in serving others as she assembles boxes of gifts for Operation Christmas Child.  Li and her friend Liu Chen (Linda) Tang in the background are both from mainland China. (Photos by Carol Woodward/UMHB)
       

Who were those ‘wise men from the East’ bearing gifts?

Posted: 12/14/07

Who were those ‘wise men
from the East’ bearing gifts?

By Benedicta Cipolla

Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS)—They came. They saw. They gifted. That’s about all we know of the foreign visitors who traveled to Bethlehem to see the infant Jesus.

The scene ingrained in the public imagination—a stately procession of three kings in turbans, crowns, elaborate capes and fancy slippers, with an entourage of servants and camels trailing behind—isn’t from Scripture.

Stefan Kalipha (Gaspar), Nadim Sawalha (Melchior) and Eriq Ebouaney (Balthasar) portray the Magi in The Nativity Story, now out on DVD. Most of what's believed about the Magi is drawn from tradition rather than the Bible, experts agree. (RNS photo/Jaimie Trueblood/New Line Cinema)
       

What if Christmas had not come?

Posted: 12/14/07

What if Christmas had not come?

By BO Baker

Can you imagine anything more saddening than a Christmas without the Savior? Whether one is a believer or not, we are all involved in the season of Christmas. We purchase gifts to give away. We joy in the sound of music showering down the neighborhood where we live. Expressions of care arriving come so invitingly as we listen to choirs of angels who never seem far away. I’ll be honest with you: I like it, all of it. Our cold hearts need the lift that Christmas brings.

Think about it: What if Jesus had not come? What if he had never entered the mind and heart of the Creator-God?

Advent: Red Letter Days
Happy New Year? For Christians it began with Advent
Christian motorcyclists and mudders bring Christmas cheer in Beaumont
Churches push Advent Conspiracy to teach real giving
Fair-trade items offer Christmas gifts with a conscience
Christmas brighter for children of military families, thanks to UMHB student project
For some, happy holidays means no gifts
International students share Christmas joy
Who were those "wise men from the East" bearing gifts?
2nd Opinion: The two sides of advent
• What if Christmas had not come?
Finding the ‘spirit of Christmas'

Suppose the Cross-figure had been little more than a poor grandstander, a radical religionist looking for attention.

Now to be honest, one must add to the story of the birth of a baby from Bethlehem Who introduced him, the touch of miracles that pointed to him, the cross that held him as he gave himself to all mankind, the tomb that lay open because of him, the angels who clung to the battlements of heaven longing to worship the King of Kingdom Come. Yes, all of this, and more. This is the truth that makes Christmas for all of us. Our future hope rests in the fact of the person of Jesus Christ.

       

Finding the ‘spirit of Christmas’

Posted: 12/14/07

Finding the ‘spirit of Christmas’

By Sam Underwood

I was listening in (OK, go ahead and call it eavesdropping) on a conversation a couple of people were having in a restaurant. In my defense, it was one of those places where the tables are so crowded together, you might as well be sitting at the table with the ones next to you. I had not paid any real attention to them until one of them gave a heavy sigh and said, “I’m having a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit.”

Advent: Red Letter Days
Happy New Year? For Christians it began with Advent
Christian motorcyclists and mudders bring Christmas cheer in Beaumont
Churches push Advent Conspiracy to teach real giving
Fair-trade items offer Christmas gifts with a conscience
Christmas brighter for children of military families, thanks to UMHB student project
For some, happy holidays means no gifts
International students share Christmas joy
Who were those "wise men from the East" bearing gifts?
2nd Opinion: The two sides of adventWhat if Christmas had not come?
• Finding the ‘spirit of Christmas'

Of course, that comment set off my radar. I wanted to hear the response of her companion, so I began to listen closely. Her reply was the sort that falls into the category of “What on earth does that mean?” But she said it anyway: “Oh, you will when the weather turns cold.” I’ve heard that one before, and I always wonder at its meaning. Is Christmas a season marker? Or does it depend on whether or not we have snow, like in the song or the movie? If that’s the case, there’s been no Christmas spirit around here in a very long time.

Even more, I have continued to think about what the first woman meant. What is “the Christmas spirit” she was asking about? Perhaps she meant she had not yet begun her annual shopping that supports the well-being of the economy. You know that siren song: You’re not a good American unless you’ve spent more than you can afford, and you’re not in the Christmas spirit until you’ve worked up the courage to brave mall crowds. Maybe her comment was nothing more than an expression of the dread she had for an unpleasant task.

       
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