Christmas

Jack Morgan

Christianity dominates American culture, and most especially at Christmas.

But by no means is every American Christian. This was brought to the forefront perhaps most publicly when, during confirmation hearings, now Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was asked this by Senator Lindsay Graham, “Where are you at on Christmas day?”

After some back-and-forth, as she tried to better understand the question, he interrupted her…

“Nah, I just asked you where you were at on Christmas.”

A century ago, young men in Europe were killing each other by the tens of thousands. World War I, which had erupted just a few months earlier, was raging. Yet on a frozen Christmas Eve, the guns briefly fell silent.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become the stuff of legend, portrayed in films, television ads, and songs. On this 100th anniversary of the cease-fire, it is possible to reconstruct the events of that day from letters, diaries, and even the recorded spoken words of the men who experienced the truce.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ryan Poppe

A tour of the Texas capitol is memorable any time of year, but during the holidays it has a special kind of magic.

Near the south entrance of the pink granite monument a giant evergreen twinkles with thousands of tiny lights and a menorah reminds visitors that the season is celebrated by Texans of many faiths.

But it’s inside where the holiday spirit really comes to life.

Every day at noon during the season the cavernous rotunda echoes with the sounds of the season as groups celebrate with song. 

It was late at night one Christmas Eve in the mid-1980s — New York City was a still a murky mix of squalor and grandeur then — when I found myself stranded at a bus stop near 121rd Street after a botched reunion with an ex-girlfriend. The street was empty and quiet and peaceful in a way only Christmas Eve (or apocalyptic blizzards) can manifest.

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