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In early December, the streets of Capitol Hill are briefly transformed into a first century Middle Eastern scene as robed people march through the streets with sheep, donkeys and camels. A “live nativity,” this annual event started in 2010 to enact the original Christmas message in the heart of the nation’s power structures. Christian churches […] Read More

News reports on the new book by Pope Benedict XVI on the infancy narratives of Jesus observe that he “debunks” some of the traditions associated with the nativity stories, such as animals in the stable and angels singing to the baby Jesus. It is easy to understand how a nativity scene can be elaborated beyond […] Read More

Looking at the world through the lens of Bethlehem’s manger can make every birth a Christmas, and every life an incarnation. Several years ago, a student responded to a class discussion of the birth accounts in Matthew and Luke, the relatively late and rather different stories at the center of our Christmas reflection and celebration. […] Read More

The Mohawk haircut on the shepherd gave it away. This wasn’t going to be a typical Christmas nativity depiction. Mary was a young African-American girl. Joseph was a Caucasian boy. Baby Jesus was a young African-American child on loan from the audience. One of the wise men had a full head of hair; the other […] Read More

I must have been about three years old when this image was burned into my mind, and probably it will be the last thing I recall when I lay on my death bed as an old man. The ceiling was moving. As I focused on what was causing this illusion, I noticed that it wasn’t […] Read More