The TWENTY-PLUS Days of Christmas???

12/29/2011 Comments (29)

As many are aware, it’s still Christmas. The Christmas season only begins on Christmas.

But when does it end?

If you go by the famous phrase “the twelve days of Christmas”—immortalized in the well-known song (which really *is not* a crypto-catechism after all; sorry.)—then you might guess they end on January 5, the eve of Epiphany, counting Christmas Day as the first day. Or if, according to some versions, you count the day *after* Christmas Day as the first day then the twelfth turns out to be January 6, the traditional day of Epiphany.

Ahhh. . . . Things were so uncomplicated in former centuries. Twelve days. Two options. Easy!

But as the Church’s liturgical cycle get modified over...READ MORE

Filed under christmas, liturgy, twelve days of christmas

Herod the Baby-Killer

12/28/2011 Comments (16)

Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents—the baby boys that Matthew records were slain on the orders of Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus.

Did he really?

Sometimes we hear skeptics dismiss the idea by saying that we have no record of him doing so.

But it’s not exactly like we have the complete records of what Herod did in his reign. So much has been lost that this kind of argument from silence is the logical fallacy they teach it to be in beginning philosophy classes. Just because we don’t have a record of Herod doing something doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.

And, after all, don’t we have a record in this case? Matthew mentions him doing it. That’s a record, right?...READ MORE

Filed under bible, herod, herod the great, history, holy innocents, infancy narrative, matthew, slaughter of the innocents

Merry Christmas! (Pictures from Bethlehem)

12/25/2011 Comments (1)

I’m not in Bethlehem, but like everyone, Bethlehem is in my thoughts these days.

I wanted to share with you a couple of pictures from Bethlehem, from the Church of the Nativity, and explain their significance.

A few days ago I ran across the following picture, which is of a nun praying in front of the shrine in the grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Although we often imagine Jesus being born in a barn, that image comes more from Christmas cards. In ancient Israel, animals were often sheltered in caves, and since extremely early times it was held that Jesus was actually born in a grotto. St. Jerome had his study in a neighboring grotto (so close it’s part of the same church complex), and...READ MORE

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The Apologetics of Christmas (pt. 2)

12/22/2011 Comments (5)

Joseph and Mary had to stay in a stable, right? Was it uncommon for some people to sleep in the stable of an inn during busy times? 

What was the Star of Bethlehem? A conjunction of planets, meteor, comet, supernatural event? What does the Church or Church Fathers say about it? 

What is significant about gold, frankincense, and myrrh? 

How did the birth of Jesus come to be celebrated on December 25? 

Why do Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on January 7?

What light does the Ark of the Covenant shed on Mary’s perpetual virginity, and what evidence do we have for her perpetual virginity?

These are among the questions we explore in this week’s episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast!


Filed under bethlehem, christmas, holy spirit, jesus, joseph, mary, paganism, star, star of bethlehem

The Apologetics of Christmas (pt. 1)

12/18/2011 Comments (4)

Should Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus? There is no evidence the apostles did. When did it become a feast day? Weren’t birthdays a pagan thing?

Why was he named Jesus when, as stated in Matthew 1:23, the Messiah was to be called Immanuel?

Matthew 1:23 quotes Isaiah 7:14 as “a virgin will conceive” from the Septuagint, but the original Hebrew uses the word “almah” meaning “young woman of marriagable age.” Was Matthew wrong to quote this?

What does Joseph’s reaction, in Matthew 1:19, to the news of Mary’s pregnancy tell us about his character?

Why would Joseph take a 9-month pregnant Mary to Bethlehem instead of taking her earlier? Why did he take her at all? Couldn’t he have just...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, bethlehem, christmas, fundamentalism, jesus, joseph, mary, nativity, pagan

Should We Chuck Christ out of Christmas?

12/14/2011 Comments (24)

I’d like to thank a Register reader who recently alerted me to a recent USA Today column by Amy Sullivan, who—according to her blurb—“is a contributing writer at Time and author of The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats Are Closing the God Gap.”

If the Democrats are closing the “God gap,” it isn’t because of the level of thinking displayed in her column, which is titled:

Let’s put ‘Christ’-mas in its place

Titles are often chosen by editors rather than authors, so this may not be her fault. But right now we’re only bouncing on the end of the diving board, and we’re about to plunge into the 12-foot end of the pool.

If it’s December, then it must be time to choose sides in the...READ MORE

Filed under christmas, holidays, jesus, pagan, paganism

Archbishop Chaput Answers Questions About His Stunning Letter

12/13/2011 Comments (59)

The Register’s own Edward Pentin scored an interview with Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput when the archbishop was in Rome for his ad limina visit last week. The interview was conducted after the release of the archbishop’s dramatic letter to his flock and contains some additional detail on the subjects he touched on in the letter. Here’s the portion of the interview that deals with that:

You issued what seems to be a very well-received pastoral letter to the archdiocese on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in which you aired a variety of serious concerns and spoke about difficult times ahead with the completion of your review of priests accused in the grand jury report and...READ MORE

Filed under ad limina, benedict xvi, catholic schools, charles chaput, parish closings, parish mergers, philadelphia, philadelphia archdiocese, politics, priest shortage

Sunday Rest Special: What Can You Do on Sunday?

12/10/2011 Comments (9)

Can you spend money on Sunday? Can you mow the lawn? Can you cook dinner? Can you go out to a restaurant? Can you go to a sporting event? Do you have to sit in a chair and read the Bible?

Just what can and can’t you do on Sunday?

And how can you have a positive rather than legalistic attitude toward Sunday?

How can Sunday help you grow closer to the Lord?

 These are among the questions we explore in this week’s episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast!

Click Play to listen . . .

or you can . . .


. . . or subscribe another way (one of many ways!) at JimmyAkinPodcast.Com.




Filed under moral theology, obligation, rest, sabbath, sunday, sunday obligation

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About Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin
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Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, "A Triumph and a Tragedy," is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."