Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah (or Chanukah)

Hanukkah, is the eight day long Festival of Lights, and is one of the most joyous times of the Jewish year. The reason for the celebration is twofold (both dating back to 165 BC):

■The miraculous military victory of the small, ill-equipped Jewish army (Maccabees) over the ruling Greek Syrians, who had banned the Jewish religion and desecrated the Temple;

■The miracle of the small cruse of consecrated oil, which burned for eight days in the Temple’s menorah instead of just one.

The celebration is not only the Festival of Lights to commemorate the oil lasting for eight days instead of just one, but also the Feast of Dedication inasmuch as the Temple was rededicated after its destruction. (John 10:22) Chanukah means dedication. It commemorates the day the Holy Temple (this was the second temple) was re-dedicated after the defeat of Antiochus. The war was fought because King Antiochus marched into Judea with his soldiers and wanted all the Jews either to be killed, or to become Hellenists (a religion that includes mostly Greek customs, along with some Jewish customs).

Antiochus made terrible laws against the Jews which prevented them from following most of their customs. A statue of Antiochus was erected in the Jewish temple and the Jews were ordered to bow down before it. The Ten Commandments forbid Jews to worship statues or idols so they refused. Antiochus, the Syrian King and his army destroyed the Jewish Temple almost completely, and put pigs (which Jews are not allowed to eat) and idols all around it and stole holy vessels. A small group of Jews called Maccabees rebelled and after a three year war they recaptured Jerusalem from the Syrians. The Temple was all but destroyed.

The Jews had to clean and repair the Temple, and when they were finished they rededicated it to God. They did this by lighting the lamp (Menorah) – which was a symbol of God’s presence. Only one small jar of oil was found, enough to last only one day, but miraculously the lamp stayed alight for eight days. Hanukkah is not one of the larger Jewish Holy Days, but it is a joyous celebration nonetheless and falls close to the Christmas season nearly every year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The O Antiphons are Magnificat antiphons used at Vespers of the last seven days of Advent in various liturgical Christian traditions.

Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. They are:
December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)

December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)

December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)

December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)

December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)

December 23: O Emmanuel (O God is with Us)

In the Roman Catholic tradition, the O Antiphons are sung or recited at Vespers from December 17 to December 23 inclusive (but see note below on alternative English usage).

In the Church of England they have traditionally been used as antiphons to the Magnificat at Evening Prayer during this period, and although not printed in the Book of Common Prayer, have long been part of secondary Anglican liturgical sources, such as the English Hymnal. More recently they have found a place in primary liturgical documents throughout the Anglican Communion, including the Church of England's Common Worship liturgy.

Use of the O Antiphons also occurs in many Lutheran churches. In the Book of Common Worship published by the Presbyterian Church (USA), the antiphons can be read as a praise litany at Morning or Evening Prayer.

The hymn O come, O come, Emmanuel (in Latin, Veni Emmanuel) is a lyrical paraphrase of these antiphons.

The first letters of the titles taken backwards form a Latin acrostic of "Ero Cras" which translates to "Tomorrow, I will come", mirroring the theme of the antiphons.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Over the past month we have seen crazy examples of people showing up in Congressmen’s offices, in malls, and parks who decide to “Occupy” the space in the name of economic equality (or any other number of reasons).

But St. Raymond, a Catholic church in Downey California, decided to ‘Co-Opt’ the Occupy theme and hold an “Occupy Christmas” Flash Mob at Stonewood, a local shopping mall.

This event may not be earth shattering news, but a religious flash mob held in a mall in uber progressive California is definitely something you don’t see everyday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011 myspace graphic comments
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Msg to atheists: Don't cross this Tennessee town

Several years ago, the residents of Whiteville raised money to erect a large cross atop the town's water tower. An atheist group has sued a small town in Tennessee over a cross on a city water tower.Freedom From Religion Foundation objected, and finally Mayor James Bellar had one arm of the cross removed.

"As a result of what they had done to Whiteville, the people in Whiteville just more or less took it upon themselves to start a campaign to put crosses up all over this part of Tennessee that they could," the mayor explains. "And it's just been like a crusade down here with people making crosses and sticking 'em in their yard, putting 'em on sides of buildings, and everything else."

In front of city hall, citizens placed two other crosses on the right of way and the mayor put up a cross outside his business. That action made the atheist group angry, so they filed suit on behalf of a lone atheist.

"[In] the letters that I received originally, this person was identified as a 'Whiteville resident and taxpayer,'" says Bellar. "In the lawsuit, that person has now morphed into a 'John Doe who occasionally comes to Whiteville to transact business.'"

In short, it is one atheist trying to shut down the speech of the town's majority who happen to be Christian. Mayor Bellar says the town will not stand for it and will defend itself against the lawsuit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Complacency is the Enemy of Faith

December 13th is St. Lucy Day, or Lucia, in Sweden. Lucia morning is celebrated in practically every Swedish home, and every community, office, school or club chooses a Lucia, who - dressed in a white gown and with a crown of candles in her hair - brings a tray of coffee, traditionally shaped saffron rolls, and ginger biscuits. Lucia sometimes serves glögg, a mulled wine. She is generally accompanied by a train of white-clad attendants, the girls wearing glitter in their hair and the boys wearing tall paper cones with stars on them. All sing the traditional Lucia carols.

ZENIT - Eucharistic Adoration Takes Off in Lebanon

ZENIT - Eucharistic Adoration Takes Off in Lebanon

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

70% Prefer 'Merry Christmas' Over 'Happy Holidays' on Store Signs
Holiday shoppers, as they have for several years, would prefer to be greeted with signs reading “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” this season.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 70% prefer that stores use signs that say “Merry Christmas.”