ST. LOUIS – Approximately 16,000 students are spending a big chunk of their Christmas break (five days, including New Year's Eve) attending a student missions conference. Most are Christian, some are not, but in either case why would they set aside typical vacation activities to attend Urbana 12 – a series of speaker sessions, Bible studies, times of worship, and more than 250 exhibitors?
"You say why come to Urbana on my winter break? I say why not come to Urbana on my Christmas break? I have the resources and God's put on my heart just adventure and a heart to get to know Him better in a different context," said Kathleen Ziegler, a student at the University of Alberta in Canada.
"Why not come and do that and see where He leads me and just have my eyes open to new opportunities," Ziegler told The Christian Post. more >>
President Barack Obama and the first family have, in years past, attended church services as a part of their Christmas celebration in Hawaii, but a brief description of the President's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day activities doesn't mention churchgoing at all.
The commander-in-chief took time before dinner on Christmas Eve to make "holiday telephone calls" to members of the U.S. military during his vacation in Kailua, Hawaii, a White House press pool report states. On Christmas morning he and his family opened gifts, ate breakfast and sang carols together.
In the afternoon, the president and first lady visited service members and their families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii before enjoying a dinner with family and friends. The president is scheduled to leave Hawaii for Washington, D.C., on Wednesday evening in order to continue working on the nation's fiscal crisis, though the rest of the family will stay behind. more >>
Katy Perry has opened up about her relationship with John Mayer at last via Twitter this holiday season.
It has been long rumored that the "Part of Me" singer and Mayer were romantically involved, but Perry's post to the social media site seemingly confirmed the relationship.
After being photographed together over Christmas in Perry's Californian hometown, the singer tweeted a picture of Mayer on Christmas Day along with the caption, "Santa Baby." more >>
Queen Elizabeth II has delivered her annual Christmas in a whole new way this year, making waves across the world.
Her Royal Majesty hailed the holidays in 3D during the annual pre-recorded broadcast, which aired Christmas Day.
The detailed message included the monarch paying tribute to the armed forces "whose sense of duty takes them away from family and friends." more >>
Wednesday has arrived with Boxing Day - traditionally the day after Christmas Day, on Dec. 26.
Boxing Day takes place each year on the day after Christmas. However, if Dec. 26 falls on a Sunday, Boxing Day is moved to Dec. 27 in many places.
The secular holiday is celebrated in the U.K. as well as in many places settled by the English. Although it is not celebrated in the U.S., the December 26th event is observed in locations that include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and is known as a shopping holiday - much like Black Friday is in the U.S. more >>
Nigerian gunmen have killed at least 12 Christians, including a pastor, during raids on two churches after midnight Christmas Eve services in the latest attack on believers in the divided African country.
Police reports reveal that one of the attacks occurred at the Church of Christ in Nations in the state of Yobe at Peri village near the city of Potiskum. Another happened at First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, in Borno state, where a deacon and five church members were killed, CNN reported.
While no group has yet officially claimed responsibility for the attacks, the BBC and other sources note that the attackers were likely Islamist extremists from the Boko Haram terrorist organization, which has killed over 700 Christians and burned down dozens of churches in Nigeria this past year alone. more >>