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2020 Holiday Coverage

Los Angeles activists say Sean Feucht is ‘waging biological warfare’ ahead of homeless outreach events

By Alejandra Molina — December 30, 2020
LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Activists are holding car caravans on Wednesday and New Year’s Eve to block Christian recording artist Sean Feucht from holding outreach events in two homeless communities in Los Angeles.
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A Christmas without family and community

By Thomas Reese — December 23, 2020
(RNS) — Christmas celebrates God’s great surprise, but we need to see it through children’s eyes.

‘No man is an island,’ wrote John Donne on a grim Christmas amid a pandemic

By Andrew McGowan — December 22, 2020
(RNS) — These famous few lines suggest a kind of compassionate solidarity, a sense of deep connection when others die, or might die. But Donne’s real point is not just compassion for others, even during a plague, but the necessity of attention to the self.

‘Lo, a virgin shall conceive’ … or not, depending on the translation

By Jana Riess — December 17, 2020
(RNS) — Had Isaiah wanted to say 'virgin' or predict a miraculous birth, he would have used different Hebrew words, say biblical scholars Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler.

Vatican unveils nativity scene and lights up tree for Christmas

By Claire Giangravé — December 11, 2020
VATICAN CITY (RNS) — 'Christmas reminds us that Jesus is our peace, our joy, our strength, our comfort,' Pope Francis said at the Vatican’s traditional lighting ceremony, Friday (Dec. 11).

This year, American Jews are taking Hanukkah outside

By Yonat Shimron — December 9, 2020
(RNS) — Many American Jews have previously shied from overtly public menorah displays out of a sense of vulnerability, if not an outright fear of persecution. Not this year.

Church pageants go virtual amid a COVID-19 Christmas

By Emily McFarlan Miller — December 9, 2020
(RNS) — With kids and the internet involved, virtual pageants, it turns out, are just as delightfully unpredictable as more traditional performances at churches.

Do you see what I see? Planetary alignment to create a ‘Christmas star’

By Emily McFarlan Miller — December 7, 2020
(RNS) — Astronomers have floated the idea that a similar conjunction of planets could be a scientific explanation for the star of Bethlehem in the Christmas story.

COVID cancels Singing Christmas Trees, other Christmas extravaganzas

By Bob Smietana — December 7, 2020
(RNS) — A holiday tradition since the 1930s, Singing Christmas Trees, like other large-scale Christmas events, have been canceled by COVID-19.

Drive-thru live Nativities are tailor-made for a COVID-19 Christmas

By Emily McFarlan Miller — December 4, 2020
(RNS) — It’s an idea whose time has come as the pandemic stretches into the Christmas season.

How Hanukkah came to be an annual White House celebration

By Jonathan D. Sarna — December 4, 2020
(RNS) — Since 1979, when Jimmy Carter helped light the National Menorah, every president has recognized Hanukkah with a special ceremony.

On the anniversary of his birth, a reflection on the life of Guru Nanak

By Simran Jeet Singh — November 30, 2020
(RNS) — Sikhs around the world celebrate the birth anniversary of their founder-prophet, Guru Nanak, every autumn.

In a year of waiting and hoping, Advent reminds us that patience can be healthy

By Wes Granberg-Michaelson — November 28, 2020
(RNS) — Advent comes with this countervailing message: Expect God to show up in unexpected places, like a subway car, a Zoom call, or a stable.
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