What does Christmas mean if you don’t believe in Christ? Thinking Faith asked Jonathan Holloway to tell us how and why someone who rejects religious values celebrates Christmas.
The Church’s celebration of Christmas continues with the Feast of the Holy Family, which this year falls on 30 December. Jack Mahoney marks the occasion by contemplating the relationship between Jesus and his mother as it is expressed in an intriguing yet non-biblical tradition, a tradition which also has an important place in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. Might Our Lady have been the first person to see Christ after his resurrection?
A Vatican astronomer presents various theories about the Star of Bethlehem - but should we be preoccupied with calculations and planetary conjunctions?
For many people, Christmas Day marks the end of a hectic few weeks of festivities; for the Church, however, it is the beginning of the celebration that we prepare for throughout Advent. But why, asks Philip Endean SJ, do we anticipate anew the coming of Christ each year? Perhaps we should think of Christmas itself as a time of expectation.
The familiar imagery of Christmas helps us to capture, as best we can, our understanding of God becoming man – but how can we grasp the wonder of the birth of Jesus through what can often seem like a trivial celebration? Philosopher, Gerard J. Hughes SJ invites us to find, in the pictures on our Christmas cards and the presentation of our cribs, something of both the simplicity and the mystery of the Incarnation, for which our words are inadequate.
Michael Bossy SJ asks whether the presence of occasional Mass-goers at Christmas is a mere pretence for the sake of show and ‘tradition’, or if it should be welcomed as something of genuine spiritual value.
What do Matthew (whose gospel is read at the Vigil Mass) and Luke (who announces the birth of Christ at Midnight and Dawn Mass) tell us about God in the Nativity stories with which we are so familiar?
Hilary Browne describes what Christmas is like now in the place of Christ’s birth, where the celebrations are often marred by news of violence.
Outreach workers from the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain describe how the more vulnerable members of Irish society often experience Christmas and how they understand the importance of what they do, particularly at this time of year.
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