587: Merry Christmas! Some sweet and some savory stories to ponder …

Christmas decorations

MERRY CHRISTMAS from ReadTheSpirit!

Our readers represent many religious traditions—but the vast majority of Americans are celebrating Christmas at the moment and we wish all of our Christian readers a very merry holiday!
    Many of you won’t be spending much time online, because family and friends are gathering for festivities. But, most of us also cherish a little “quiet time” to read and reflect over holiday weekends.
    So, whatever brings you to ReadTheSpirit today, we want to share with you some great spiritual reading!

Kwanzaa stamp 2009 Want to know more about this holiday season?
    Did you know the Feast of Stephen—the one mentioned in the popular Christmas carol—is this weekend? So is the start of Kwanzaa among African-American families and the Day of Ashura for Muslims. Read all about these observances, including cool information on Christmas itself, in Stephanie Fenton’s “Spiritual Season” column.

Still shopping?
    A lot of readers thanked us for our 2009 “10 Best Bets for Holiday Shopping” list. We published the list way back in November, but it’s still full of awe-inspiring books you’ll love to explore. Click Here to find out which terrific books made our Holiday list this year.

2 Strawberries and Notes Hungry? Want some sweet dessert ideas—along with an uplifting story of cross-cultural friendship?
    We just published a delicious story about friendship spanning cultural gaps between two women who have become “unlikely friends.” Plus, one of these women writes cookbooks and agreed to share two yummy dessert recipes with readers. Click Here to read Lynne Schreiber’s story, “The Chaldean Martha Stewart.”

Concerned about the needs of our world? Please, lend a hand in our national project to identify “Top News Stories of 2009”!
    It’s true that every media outlet is publishing lists right now—partly because such lists are a tradition every December and partly because this year is the end of the first decade in a new century. It’s an auspicious year—and a whale of a lot of news events have thrashed through the stormy seas of 2009.
    Why is our effort different? Because we’re focusing—in one list, on news that affected the nation’s hundreds of thousands of congregations—and in a second list, on news related to American values. Here’s where to read all about it and join in this important project …
    FIRST, OurValues.org is collecting nominations for Top Values Stories. Click Here to find the third in this series by Dr. Wayne Baker and also think about the many comments from readers!
    SECOND, Our list of Top News Affecting Congregations appeared on Monday as part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness about these important issues. Click Here to read our Top 10 list. (This page also links to a Top 10 list created by the Alban Institute’s Congregational Resource Guide.)
    THEN, Martin Davis of Alban, plus Sam Hodges of the Dallas Morning News joined ReadTheSpirit’s David Crumm for a 45-minute roundtable discussion of these issues, broadcast on Blogtalk Radio. You should see an audio player below. Click on the triangle-shaped arrow to listen to a recording of our broadcast. (If you don’t see a player below, then use this link to visit the Blogtalk Web site directly.)

Merry Christmas!
    We’ll be back with fresh stories and inspirational ideas on Monday December 28!

PLEASE TELL US WHAT YOU THINK:

    This is a good time to sign up for our Monday-morning ReadTheSpirit Planner by Emailit’s
free and you can cancel it any time you’d like to do so. The Planner
goes out each week to readers who want more of an “inside track” on
what we’re seeing on the horizon, plus it’s got a popular “holidays”
section.

    Not only do we welcome your notes—but our readers enjoy them as well. You can do this
anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
You also can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm. We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube and other social-networking sites as well.
    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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