Why Do We Think of Christ’s Birth As a Nighttime Event?

O Holy night! Yes, a silent night! And it came upon a midnight clear! Christmas, it would seem, is a festival of the middle of the night. Jesus is born when it is dark, dark midnight. We are sure of it. And why shouldn’t we be?

Even though we are not told the exact hour of His birth, we are sure it must have been at night. Scripture does say that the Shepherds who heard the glad tidings were keeping watch over their flock “by night” (cf Luke 2:9). Further, the Magi sought Him by the light of a star, and stars are seen at night, deep midnight. None of this is evidence that Jesus was born at 12:00 midnight but it sets our clocks for night, deep midnight.

Add to this the fact that Christmas is celebrated at the winter solstice, the very darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere. More specifically, Christmas comes when light is just beginning its subtle return. The darkest and shortest days of the year occur around December 21st and 22nd. But by December 23rd and 24th we notice a definite but subtle trend: the days are getting longer; the light is returning! It’s time to celebrate the return of the light. It’s going to be all right!

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Exorcist: Temptation – not possession – is the most significant demonic activity

Vatican City, Dec 26, 2019 / 06:54 pm (CNA).- Though dramatic representations of demonic possessions, as seen in Hollywood, can make them appear to be the primary method of the devil, one Dominican priest and exorcist has warned that the greater and more common threat to a person’s salvation is the temptation to sin.

“The most common manifestation of the demonic is temptation, which is much more significant than possession,” Fr. Francois Dermine, OP, told CNA.

An exorcist for over 25 years, he explained that possession is not a spiritual threat in the same way temptation is, and that a person who has been possessed by the devil may still make “extraordinary spiritual progress,” and could even one day be a saint.

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Cardinal Tagle speaks of ‘shock and sadness’ at Philippines’ suicide rates

Manila, Philippines, Dec 26, 2019 / 04:30 pm (CNA).- In the wake of rising suicide rates in the Philippines, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle issued a Christmas statement expressing his shock at the trend and calling for cultural renewal. 

“The mystery of Christmas is contrary to the drive, the desire and the impulse to destroy people, lives, families, societies and creation,” said Cardinal Tagle in a statement released over Christmas.

The Cardinal is serving his final weeks as Archbishop of Manila. Earlier this month he was appointed by Pope Francis as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

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St. Augustine and a patient husband led this long-searching Christian to Catholicism

Denver, Colo., Dec 26, 2019 / 03:01 pm (CNA).- For Colorado native Juliana Pybus, faith has always been a central part of her life.

She was raised as a member of the Churches of Christ, an ecclesial community that is democratic, lacking a central authority, and leans heavily on the idea of sola scriptura – “if it’s in the Bible you do it, and if it’s not, you don’t do it,” Pybus told CNA.

It was the church of her mother’s side of the family. Her grandfather was a heavily involved elder, a song leader, and a founder of one of the communities. Pybus’ mother had been going to the church since birth; her father, a lapsed Catholic, joined the Church of Christ upon marriage.

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