The Fifth Day of Christmas, December 29, is the Feast of St Thomas Becket. Thomas was the son of a former London Sheriff. Educated in Paris, he joined the household of Theobold, Archbishop of Canterbury, who introduced him to the newly-crowned King Henry II. They became fast friends, and the king made him chancellor. When Theobold died, Henry made him Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps thinking that having a friend in charge of the church would give him control over that institution.
The friendship suffered as Henry tried to take advantage. Thomas changed, however, and his allegiance shifted as he became ever more devout. He fled first to the Pope and then to France where he excommunicated several bishops for siding with the king.
The Archbishop of York told Henry that as long as Thomas lived the kingdom would never be at peace. The King said something along the lines of, …
The Fourth Day of Christmas, December 28, is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, also called Childermas. On this day people remember the baby boys which King Herod killed when he was trying to find and kill the Baby Jesus. These children are considered by some to be the first Christian martyrs, even if unwitting.
In his last years, Herod was in great mental and physical distress. He finally disinherited and killed his firstborn. This massacre of the infants, which occurred just before his death, was wholly consistent with the chaos of his life at the time.
Bethlehem was a very small town at the time, probably 300-600 people. The number of children involved was probably between five and thirty.
The wise men could not have …
The Third Day of Christmas, December 27, is the feast of St John the Apostle. John was one of Jesus’s disciples, and one of his closest friends. In the gospel that bears his name he is referred to as “the disciple that Jesus loved.” Tradition says he was the youngest of the disciples, perhaps only 18, and the only apostle to die a natural death. He and his brother James were known as the “Sons of Thunder.”
After James was martyred, tradition holds that John went to Asia Minor, where he likely helped found the Church at Ephesus. During the persecution of Domitian, he was exiled to Patmos, but he later returned to Ephesus and died there. While on Patmos he received the vision that forms the Book of Revelation. In the Middle Ages, this feast was dedicated to priests.…
I have always wondered what the song “The Twelve days of Christmas” meant. I looked it up this year. It refers to Christmastide, the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany. In the more liturgical churches, there is a feast on each of those days—on every day, actually. I am not Catholic or Orthodox, but I thought I’d share with you what those twelve feasts are.
The Second Day of Christmas, December 26, is the feast of St Stephen. Stephen was appointed as one of the seven deacons, those chosen by Peter and the apostles to care for the widows being overlooked in the distribution of food among the believers. For this reason, December 26 has come to be known as Boxing Day, a day to present Christmas boxes to public servants and tradesmen. It’s also the day when the Christmas carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ takes place. In the Middle …
November and December are my kitty’s favorite months. Our tree goes up November 1. It might take a week or two to get all the ornaments up, but that red velvet skirt goes around the base right away, and she loves to lie on it. It’s also about nine feet tall, which means the base is about six feet wide, letting her get nice and deep under those branches. And then when we put the presents around, she can really hide.
Presents are tricky in my house. We have to use a code. We can’t just use regular to/from labels, or the wrapping would be opened at the ends, and boxes would be shaken within an inch of their lives. In previous years we’ve used a number derived from some combination of the letters in their names or their birthdays, like some kind of weird numerology. This year we tried …
She wanted to know him better. Know what kind of man gives up every night to take care of his brother’s family. Spends hours in prayer for them. On his knees? It was only breakfast. What could it hurt?
My novella The Other Brother is now individually available in Kindle for only 99¢. Brother was in the six-book set “Falling for You”, which was on the Amazon Christian collections bestseller list for several weeks in October and November. I am planning to have the paperback copy available later this week.
Let me introduce you to Marc and Kendall, the hero and heroine of The Other Brother.
Marc Hudson grew up in Newtown, Indiana. It’s a small town, in the state where basketball rules. Entire towns in Indiana come to a standstill every time there is a game. Marc’s brother was a star in high school, taking his team …
photo by Emma Towriss
I always think of adding my kids to our family in terms of the holidays. Emma was born on Christmas Eve. Mira was born on December 21, but we met her on the day we celebrate Easter in the west and brought her home on Orthodox Easter, one week later.
And Dara and Johnny we brought home two days before Thanksgiving. I can never remember the date. I just remember it was Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving fifteen years ago. In the adoption community, we call that Gotcha Day.
Gotcha Day, November 20101
Dara and Johnny are what are called virtual twins. Virtual twins are biologically unrelated children less than nine months apart who are raised together. Dara and Johnny are nothing alike. Until recently she’s been a head taller than he, but he’s catching up quickly. Even when we met her she was twice as …
David Platt said, “Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”
Orphans face incredible life challenges. Orphans are more vulnerable to slave labor, suicide, violence, homelessness, lack of education, health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, and sex slavery.
HOMELESSNESS: A study in Russia showed 40% of orphans who age out of the system were homeless. There are an estimated 150 million street children worldwide, who are not counted as orphans, most of whom may be double orphans.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Alcohol and drug abuse is estimated at 60% among street kids. Russian orphans are 9-60 times as likely to have pre-natal alcohol exposure. 80% of kids in Ukraine are “social orphans,” abandoned by parents, often due to …
Sunday is Orphan Sunday. The most important thing we can do to help solve the global orphan crisis is pray. We have no greater privilege than to talk to God.
We can ask Him to set the lonely in families, for justice, for safety, for provision. We can pray for lawmakers, providers, caregivers and counselors. We can talk to Him about children with parents who are sick and dying, for child-headed households, for mothers and fathers contemplating giving up their children, and children affected by war. For families who have room and resources to care for fatherless children, that He release and speed any care supplies to refugee camps, for those who mentor and teach orphans, for street children, and for the health of orphans.
Orphans are more vulnerable to slave labor, suicide, violence, homelessness, lack of education, health problems, alcohol and drug abuse, and sex slavery.
SEX TRAFFICKING: …
November 13 is Orphan Sunday. This is a day we are called to give a voice to the fatherless, to remind the world that there is a global crisis. It’s also a day to remind the church that God commands us to to look after orphans and widows in their distress. ~James 1:27
Here are a few facts:
- There are an estimated 150 million orphans worldwide.
- That doesn’t include 150 million street children, 1.2 million trafficked children and tens of thousands of child-soldiers.
- If all orphans formed their own country, it would be among the 10 largest nations in the world.
- HIV/AIDS alone has orphaned 15 million children in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Every 2.2 seconds a child loses a parent somewhere in the world.
- Every day 5,760 more children become orphans.
- 250,000 children are adopted annually, that’s less than 1%.
- 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of