There is a lot going on in the Church of SoNoGo

South Park – North Park – Golden Hill

An Ecumenical Ministry in St. Patrick's Catholic Parish

Friday, December 23, 2022

Did Hillsong founder Brian Houston break the law

Did Hillsong founder Brian Houston break the law by failing to report his father’s sexual abuse to police? An Australian court heard 13 days of testimony and evidence and will now weigh the legal arguments about “reasonable excuses.”

Ukraine has its own history of Christmas traditions and carols, but one popular song made its way from the country to American holiday playlists, surviving political challenges and commercial forces. We know the folk song “Shchedryk” as “Carol of the Bells.”

After the death of his son two years ago, Tim Challies and his family anticipate Christmas as both a day of sadness and a day of joy. Those who grieve on the holiday are not without hope.

We take a look inside the new children’s book Brown Baby Jesus.

In Jesus Christ, our myths become fact, the eternal and mystical steps into history.

Our Advent devotional comes to a close with reflections and readings for today, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

Behind the story

Christmas music is everywhere in December (and these days, November too). Even as some debate whether the saturation of Christmas carols has watered down their value in worship, we at CT are clinging to the spiritual significance of our Christmas favorites.

Morgan Lee on our global team loves “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” for its majestic melody and rich theology, especially the lines: “Born that man no more may die / Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give them second birth.” Associate editor Stefani McDade picked “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” for its relevance to our day. A few years ago, CT ran a tribute to the Civil War-era song, nicknaming it a carol for the despairing.

For Kate Lucky, our social media editor and in-house choral expert, it’s the Advent standard “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” It’s “haunting, plaintive, full of longing and sadness…but then, that major chord at the end! Jesus is here.” On the other hand, our associate Asia editor Iz Ong loves the festive singalong quality of “Feliz Navidad.”

Associate editor Kara Bettis’s Christmas favorite is “Silent Night,” for bringing back memories of candlelight services. Copy editor Alex Mellen picked it for the tradition at her alma mater, Taylor University, where the crowd stays silent for the first part of a December basketball game before a huge celebration at the tenth point. They sing “Silent Night” at the end.

Whatever your Christmas traditions and whatever’s on your playlist this year (we do have some new suggestions for you!), we at CT pray you have a meaningful celebration and feel the presence and care of the God “whose birth the angels sing.”

In other news

In Muslim-majority Indonesia, one district has prohibited Christmas celebrations unless the site has a worship permit.

Ahead of Christmas Eve, Ed Stetzer warns of candlelight service fires and other mishaps.

The US government spending package that legislators are sending to President Joe Biden to sign with bipartisan support will not include some provisions that would encourage donations to nonprofit organizations.


The New York Times ran a piece all about a single chord in “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

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