Happy Yuletide, Hanukkah, and a merry Christmas!

As long as men and women have walked the earth—the solstices have been auspicious turning points in the calendar.
Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton

2 BILLION CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE

YULETIDE—The Winter Solstice on December 21 (that’s Summer Solstice for our readers south of the Equator) is a universal marker of changing seasons around the world. Stephanie Fenton has the story, including the tradition of the yule log and links to delicious recipes.

CHRISTMAS—Then, most of the world’s 2 billion Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Monday December 25. (Some Eastern Christians still follow earlier calendars that push the observance into January.) And, yes, in addition to her short history of the holiday, Stephanie’s Christmas column also includes her suggestions of great links for holiday recipes.

 

Click the image to read Stephanie’s story.

A LATINO TRADITION

POSADAS NAVIDENAS—The Hispanic countdown to Christmas officially began December 16 with Posadas Navidenas. Tantalizing dishes, merry carols and the story of the nativity has been bringing together communities in Mexico for more than 400 years in a beloved tradition that lasts nine nights and ends on Dec. 24. Stephanie has that story, too!

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NEED A LAST MINUTE GIFT?

We’ve got a treat for you! You’ll find hand-picked recommendations from a master shopper: Susan Stitt, head of Morgan Street Media. She is very familiar with the many authors who have published their books with us over the years—because Susan also serves as marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. She has a list of six recommendations that just might help you with that tough-to-satisfy person on your list. Check it out! And, yes, in most parts of the U.S., Amazon is still delivering these books well before Christmas.

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Click the cover to learn more about Debra’s book.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

HANUKKAH—Jewish families continue to light candles early this week. We recommend that you mark Hanukkah—whatever your faith may be—by visiting this National Public Radio (NPR) website and enjoying the free audio recordings of this year’s Hanukkah Lights series. We are celebrating that Michigan author Debra Darvick was included this year in the NPR series, which features Debra’s true account of of Mike Neulander, who served in the Gulf War as a helicopter pilot in the 1st Cavalry Division, received the Bronze Star for aerial combat actions and retired as a major.

Also, the author and standup comic Rabbi Bob Alper—whose books we also highly recommend at any season of the year—sent us along this delightful Hanukkah gem. It’s a YouTube video of the Seattle Men’s Chorus, performing under the name Captain Smartypants, doing a Country & Western version of the folk song, Dreidel. Thanks, Bob!

And, if you’re just catching up with our Hanukkah coverage, check out our Holidays & Festivals columnist explaining the holiday traditions and, along the way, busting the myth that Hanukkah is just “the Jewish Christmas.”

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GENERATIONS OF GENEROSITY

GOD SIGNS—This week, columnist Suzy Farbman tells us the true story of several generations of the Hamad family, who show how generosity and creativity can take many forms! From music to needlepoint, cooking to scholarships—the Hamads say that “no” isn’t part of their vocabulary.

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Click this image from the Visual Parables December issue to learn more about this fascinating journal.

FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

LOVE MOVIES & SPIRITUAL REFLECTION? Buy yourself a merry little Christmas present by subscribing to a year of the Journal, now. And, among the hundreds of complete discussion guides you’ll receive in this treasure trove of Journals—you can also enjoy Ed’s popular guide to Christmas movies, originally published four years ago and still very popular.

Click the movie still to read Ed’s review.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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