COVER STORY: The inspiration of Hanukkah
- PREPARE NOW—Hanukkah begins on the evening of December 16. It’s a relatively minor Jewish festival, but its themes are powerful. Freedom is celebrated as Jewish families shine lights in the darkness. These signs inspire all of us who aspire to be peacemakers. We are publishing our Hanukkah stories early this year, because you’ll find recommendations of books that you might want to share with friends during the 8-day festival.
- PLUS—Today’s Hanukkah column includes links to wonderful stories by Debra Darvick (including her Dear Abby-style columns), Feed The Spirit (a true story of “front porch latkes”) and Rabbi Bob Alper with his marvelous “Mrs. Steinberg’s Christmas Tree.”
RACE IN AMERICA
OUR VALUES—In a season when millions are remembering the long struggle for freedom, Americans coast to coast are grappling with difficult questions about racial attitudes and public policy. University of Michigan sociologist Wayne Baker is devoting this week’s OurValues series to “Race in America.”
- PART 1—Is racism a form of mental illness?
- PART 2—A black-white divide in confidence in police.
- PART 3—Are racial perceptions of Brown and Garner cases converging?
- PART 4—Are race relations at a low point in America?
- PART 5—Will body cams help the public—or the police?
ALL THE HOLIDAYS
MASTER CALENDAR—You can always find the full listing at www.InterfaithHolidays.com
- BODHI DAY—Christians and Jews are not the only ones marking a holiday with lights. Many Buddhist families string lights for Bodhi Day.
- IMMACULATE CONCEPTION—There is special focus on this holiday, this year, because the Catholic dogma concerning Mary’s own birth was infallibly declared 150 years ago.
- OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE—She’s the patron of the Americas, the Vatican has declared, and millions of families with roots in Mexico celebrate her feast day each December.
- POSADAS NAVIDENAS—Think Hanukkah (see headlines above) is a long festival at eight days? Many Hispanic Catholics follow a tradition of processions, community gatherings and worship that lasts for nine days. Stephanie Fenton has the story.
- YULE—Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on the annual solstice when the Northern Hemisphere darkens and Yule customs emerge with tasty treats and blazing Yule logs.
- HOW TO GET INVOLVED—We know all about Peace-making, don’t we? This week, international peacemaker Daniel Buttry challenges us to consider becoming Peace-givers!
- HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE—Buttry also recommends that readers check out this broad array of holiday ideas—designed to inspire readers and build healthier communities.
- BULLYING IS NO LAUGHING MATTER—One of those holiday ideas is our big, anti-bullying comic book—a colorful volume that also is a celebration of dozens of beloved American comics. This week, our special comic section features a newer comic strip: Lore.
& POPULAR CULTURE
- THERE’S STILL TIME! It’s a perfect gift for film lovers and only takes few minutes. For decades, Edward McNulty has been one of America’s most popular writers on faith and film, mainly through his monthly Visual Parables Journal. Each issue is packed with complete study guides to spark spirited discussion. Now through December 31, new subscribers can get an entire year at $10 off the normal price!
- FILMS YOU SHOULDN’T MISS—In addition to his Journal, Ed also freely posts thoughtful reviews of films with spiritual reflections on each one. Here is his complete index. Then, his latest reviews include The Hobbit (4 out of 5 stars), Big Hero 6 (4 stars), Diplomacy (4.5 stars), Interstellar (4 stars) and The Theory of Everything (4.5 stars).
- A COKE CAN NATIVITY??? You’ll definitely want to share this with friends! FaithGoesPop columnist Ken Chitwood spotted this very thought-provoking image of a Nativity Scene made with—that’s right—Coca-Cola cans. Read the entire story.
- And, CHRISTMAS CARP? No kidding. It’s another Ken Chitwood column you’ll enjoy.
- AN APOSTOLIC FASHIONISTA—A special column from Megan Geiger. You’ll find all three very creative stories in Ken Chitwood’s FaithGoesPop. Remember: When you share these stories on Facebook or Twitter—and you’ll definitely want to share something—use the #FaithGoesPop hashtag.
- RODNEY CURTIS IS BACK—Known to many readers as “The Spiritual Wanderer,” Rodney Curtis writes this week about wandering around, sometimes, at night. In this darkest season of the year (for our Northern Hemisphere readers), do you find that your sleep is troubled? Many famous writers, including Charles Dickens, rarely slept through the night (the Christmas Carol wasn’t entirely fiction). Maybe Rodney’s tale (and fascinating links) will help you sleep better this month.