Christmas is offensive, and always will be, says Jonathan Bartley. It legitimates the undermining of those in authority. But it is also about looking after not just those who are “deserving” of love, but those who appear disreputable and unworthy.
Pope Benedict XVI has declared in one of his key Christmas messages that believers facing persecution, torture and death in some parts of the world and those who die forgiving their killers are a sign of hope and faith for humanity.
Violence, injustice and greed are the main threats to humanity - and a radical chnage of heart and mind is needed to address them. That was the message from Christmas sermons delivered yesterday by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
The decision by Tony Blair, joint architect of the invasion of Iraq, to be received into the Roman Catholic Church has excited comment across the world in the run up to Christmas, which focuses on the birth of Christ, the prince of peace.
The Anglican bishop of London says in a Christmas letter that the return of religious issues to centre stage in the public sphere is welcome, but he claims it has provoked a dangerous reaction from what he calls "secular fundamentalists".
A new Scottish carol tells how a huge barrier constructed by Israel in Palestinian territory divides races and religions, stopping ordinary people getting to the place where the founder of Christianity was born 2000 years ago.