Editorial | Making Christmas peace last year-round

At Christmas, we see lights, decorated trees, even Nativity scenes, but if they are not signs of faith in Jesus and a commitment to following Him, then it is "all fake," Pope Francis said last month.

"The world continues to make war," he said. "The world has not understood the path of peace."

In his Dec. 16 Christmas message, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal urged Palestinian and Israeli leaders to have the courage to work toward a just peace, rather than war and violence.

BEFORE THE CROSS | The celebration of Christmas prepares us for something that lasts

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson was the homilist for the final night of the Advent Novena at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary on Dec. 9.

As we enter the final days of Advent, our sense of anticipation is increasing. The days are growing darker, but more and more Christmas lights are appearing. Yes, the Christmas carols have been playing since Thanksgiving. But somehow they strike a deeper chord in the heart as Christmas Day draws near.

Since we've just entered the Jubilee Year of Mercy, I want to ask this question: If we look at our culture's celebration of Christmas with the eyes of mercy, what do we see?

POPE'S MESSAGE | Prolong Christmas joy by serving others, witnessing to Christ

Pope Francis used incense to venerate a figurine of the baby Jesus at the start of Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

VATICAN CITY -- The day after Christmas, Pope Francis warned Catholics about two related temptations: giving Christmas a "false, sugary coating" and not putting the faith one professes into action.

Reciting the Angelus Dec. 26 -- a holiday in Italy and the feast of St. Stephen, the martyred deacon who served the poor -- the pope said Stephen "honored the coming into the world of the king of kings, gave witness to Him and offered as a gift his life in service for the poorest. In that way, he shows us how to fully live the mystery of Christmas."

'Miracle on McClay' gives hope to needy families at Christmas

Bob Ruhland, a volunteer with the Adopt-A-Family program at Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service, carried a box of Christmas presents being delivered to a family as part of the group’s annual Christmas service project Dec. 14 at St. Charles Community College in Cottleville. Photo by Sid Hastings

In the gymnasium at St. Charles Community College, a sea of boxes -- filled with brightly wrapped presents, food and basic necessities -- were numbered and lined in perfect order as they waited for their recipients. Outside, rows of bicycles and a pile of new Christmas trees were poised and ready to go.

Just before 8 on an overcast Sunday morning, the cars started to arrive. Six cars every five minutes. Some people were welled with tears; others hugged volunteers as the thought sank in that this was going to be a good Christmas after all.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Jesus is the true light of humankind

Jesus is the true light of humankind

At the darkest time of the year, we celebrate the birth of the true light of humankind -- Jesus Christ.

Lights in the darkness are among of the great symbols at this time of year -- and one of the great joys. But our celebration is more than symbolic, it's also historical. Christmas isn't just the projection of a human need for light in the darkness. Jesus Christ, God made man, really came into the world two thousand years ago to save us. His entire life was a light for humankind. Say a prayer for someone you know who needs that light.

Editorial | Keeping Christ in Christmas -- we can do it!

Regardless of how hard they try, secularists can't keep Christ out of Christmas.

There's the "happy holidays" and "season's greetings" substitutes for "Merry Christmas." There's also more overt attempts, such as a secular group in Arkansas that sought to prevent students from attending a performance of "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown," a theatrical group's adaptation of the popular animated TV classic, "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

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