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Christmas' missing icon: Mary breastfeeding Jesus

(RNS) At its heartwarming core, Christmas is the story of a tender relationship between a new mother and her newborn child. Yet all the familiar images associated with the holy family are missing one obvious element: a breast-feeding infant. And therein lies a tale. By David Gibson.

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Colm Toibin's Virgin Mary is far from meek and mild

(RNS) The traditional Christmas image of the Virgin Mary -- silent, obedient, observant -- has cemented a potent ideal in the Western imagination. Now the masterful Irish writer Colm Toibin puts a jackhammer to the cozy, safe, Christmas-card version in "The Testament of Mary.'' By Karen Long.

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Workers with autism find refuge in Jewish artist's studio

KENSINGTON, Md. (RNS) John Linder and Tim Welsh aren't Jewish, and probably don’t understand the religious symbolism in the menorahs, mezuzahs and dreidels they create. But the two autistic men know that in the weeks leading up to Hanukkah, their quick and expert manipulation of glass, copper and steel are crucial to getting a truckload of Judaica into the homes of Jews around the world. By Lauren Markoe.