Only after Christmas Day do I have the chance to enjoy links I didn't have time to explore before which is why I'm thankful there are 12 days of Christmas. Here are some of them for you to enjoy at leisure.
TIME crunches the merry numbers behind the most popular Christmas songs of the modern era and Silent Night is the most popular
The BBC gives us the real history behind some of our favorite Christmas carols
The best-selling Christmas album of all time. Elvis' Christmas Album. 13 million copies sold. Eight of the songs on the album were Christmas songs, both classic and new, and four were Gospel songs .
Speaking of Gospel, Chanticleer is great in (Everywhere I Go) Somebody Talkin' 'Bout Jesus which was shot beautifully on a mobile phone during a rehearsal.
A fraction of reindeer—the species of deer scientifically known as Rangifer tarandus, native to Arctic regions in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia and Scandinavia—actually do have noses colored with a distinctive red hue. A group of researchers from the Netherlands and Norway found that the color is due to an extremely dense array of blood vessels, packed into the nose in order to supply blood and regulate body temperature in extreme environments.
Photo gallery by Erika Larsen of The People Who Walk with Reindeer in the National Geographic.
My favorite Christmas video of the year, "A Hallelujah Christmas" by Cloverton
A Christmas Miracle – by Dr. Joseph A. MacDougall as told to Douglas How
Finally, one day that December, I had to tell her. Medically, we were beaten. The decision lay with God. She took it quietly, lying there, wasting away, only 23 and the mother of a year-old child. Eleanor Munro (her name has been disguised) was a devout, courageous woman. She had red hair and had probably been rather pretty, but it was hard to tell anymore, she was so near to death from tuberculosis. She knew it now, she accepted it, and she asked for just one thing. “If I’m still alive on Christmas Eve,” she said slowly, “I would like your promise that I can go home for Christmas.”
A great story told by Bob Welsh about his times on the highway patrol, called My Christmas Eve on YouTube.
Always a favorite, In the Bleak Midwinter by the King's College Choir. The beautiful lyrics are from a poem by Christina Rossetti and the music by Gustav Holst.
Santa Classics by artist Ed Wheeler.
Best Christmas advertisement I've seen this year is called the Journey by Jon Lewis. You can watch it here
A lovely short fictional piece by Elizabeth Scalia A Shepherd I Will Remain
Steve McCann, Saved by Christmas
Linus tells Charlie Brown What Christmas Is All About
The dying wishes of Laney Brown, only eight years old, was to meet Taylor Swift and for some people to come by her house for a night of caroling. She chatted with Taylor on Facetime and 10,000 people in Reading, PA, showed up to carol outside her window.
"I can hear you now!!! Love you!" she said through a photo her family posted to a Team Laney Facebook page showing the girl, two thumbs up despite a breathing mask, lying in bed.
She died on Christmas morning.
Long, but good presentation on Christmas in Christian Art on Vimeo
Ross Douthat on Ideas from a Manger
That’s what the Christmas story really is — an entire worldview in a compact narrative, a depiction of how human beings relate to the universe and to one another. It’s about the vertical link between God and man — the angels, the star, the creator stooping to enter his creation. But it’s also about the horizontal relationships of society, because it locates transcendence in the ordinary, the commonplace, the low.
It’s easy in our own democratic era to forget how revolutionary the latter idea was. But the biblical narrative, the great critic Erich Auerbach wrote, depicted “something which neither the poets nor the historians of antiquity ever set out to portray: the birth of a spiritual movement in the depths of the common people, from within the everyday occurrences of contemporary life.”
George Weigel, Three Meditations on The Nativity
For as Pope Benedict XVI preached at Midnight Mass on December 24–25, 2006, “God’s sign is simplicity. God’s sign is the baby. God’s sign is that He makes Himself small for us. This is how He reigns. He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby — defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with His strength. He takes away our fear of His greatness. . . . God made Himself small so that we could understand Him, welcome Him, and love Him.”Posted by Jill Fallon at December 26, 2013 1:44 PM | Permalink