Christmas News

The U.K.’s Channel 4, which has a history of offering alternatives to the Queen’s Christmas message, invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver this year’s Christmas speech to Britons. A disgraceful choice on several levels, but it did inspire Mark Steyn to come up with one of the great post titles of all time: Feliz ‘dinejad.

Would someone please let the Mullahs know that if they’re looking for someone to deliver a Ramadan address on Iranian television next year, I’m available?

Whatever happened to Jose Feliciano, by the way? I hope he’s on a beach somewhere enjoying royalties from that song, which I must have heard 50 times this Christmas season.

In Afghanistan, American soldiers sang carols by firelight:

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In Iraq, Christmas is an official holiday this year for, I believe, the first time ever. These kids are participating in a Christmas Day mass in Basra:

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Christmas in Sadr CIty:

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In Berlin, a member of the city’s “ice swimming club,” the Berlin Seals, goes for a dip in Orankesee lake:

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Christmas in Istanbul:

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And in India:

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I was a little surprised to see Christmas being celebrated in Pakistan:

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Christmas in Kabul:

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Christians pray in the Grotto at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem:

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I’ve been there, and it’s interesting to see, but the generally musty and Byzantine feel of the place does not put an American Protestant in mind of Christmas. Here is Christmas in–amazingly enough–Beirut:

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Christmas in Sofia, Bulgaria:

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Closer to home, our youngest daughter played Mary in this year’s pageant at our church. A milestone of sorts, as this is the last year we’ll have a kid young enough to participate. Going to services on Christmas Eve, I was struck once again by the vitality of religious faith here in the U.S. The church was packed, and positively teeming with children. Not just children, but babies–at one point a guy in front of me turned to his wife and said, “There’s a baby boom going on here.” These remain the two most fundamental respects in which we are distinguished from our European cousins, and the two main reasons why our future is so much brighter–the persistence of religious faith, and the belief that children are assets, not just liabilities.

So, once again: Merry Christmas!

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