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Americans want to keep Christ in Christmas

A billboard from the Long Beach Knights of Columbus Council with Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the classic manger scene with encouragement to Keep Christ in Christmas, Long Beach, New Jersey, December 20, 2005 (Credit:  Jackie via Flickr)I was in a restaurant the other day when the waiter brought my check with the cheery wish, "Happy holidays!"  Retailers and media alike speak of this as the "holiday season."  Santa Claus and his reindeer take turns in store windows alongside Christmas trees, toys, and tinsel.  An observer from Mars could be forgiven for wondering why we call this season "Christ"mas.

Here's some good news: 79 percent of Americans believe "Christmas should be more about Jesus."  Only 18 percent disagree.  When asked if "Christmas activities should include a visit to a church service," 63 percent agree.  Further, 70 percent of Americans say Christmas would be better with a Christian focus.

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Movie exec calls Angelina Jolie a 'spoiled brat'

Angelina Jolie attends the UK Premiere of her new movie Unbroken, her directorial debut, at Odeon Leicester Square, London, England, November 25, 2014 (Credit: Flynet)Hollywood is in the news today after nominations for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced this week.  Ridley Scott's much-anticipated Exodus: Gods and Kings opens today as well. (My wife and I saw the movie last night, and I wrote a review for our website.)  But some stars are in the news for less glamorous reasons.

Computer hackers calling themselves "Guardians of Peace" have apparently stolen just under 100 terabytes of data from Sony Pictures, including financial information, budgets, payroll data, internal emails, and feature films.  The cyber attack could cost Sony as much as $100 million.

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3 lessons from TIME's Person of the Year

They risked and persisted, sacrificed and saved. Editor Nancy Gibbs explains why the Ebola Fighters are TIME's choice for Person of the Year 2014 (Credit: TIME Magazine)TIME has named "the Ebola fighters" its Person of the Year.  The magazine explained: "The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight.  For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME's 2014 Person of the Year."

Meanwhile, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager and education advocate who survived an assassination attempt, received her Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo yesterday.  And thousands flocked to a pro-democracy protest camp in Hong Kong ahead of government action to clear the area.  One protester explained: "We may not succeed immediately but we must keep trying.  We cannot bow down to an unjust political system."

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The world's most famous baby bump

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who are expecting their second child, arrive at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, December 7, 2014 (Credit: AP/Chad Rachman)Thus a reporter described Kate Middleton's pregnancy as she and Prince William arrived in New York City last Sunday for a three-day official American tour.  Kate is about five months pregnant.  At this stage, her baby has a heart, a face, a brain, fingernails, and is growing hair.  Kate may already be feeling her child's movements.

Yet, as journalist Katrina Trinko notes, it would be legal in the United States for Kate to abort her baby.  The U.S. is one of only seven countries—including North Korea and China—that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks.

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What were the top 10 Internet searches this year?

The Yahoo logo on the wall in the lobby of the Yahoo France Press Office, February 5, 2010 (Credit: Yahoo France Press Office) Online searches say much about our fascinations, fears, and faith.  According to Yahoo!, these were the top 10 searches in 2014, from number 10 to number one: Jennifer Aniston, the iPhone 6, Miley Cyrus, the Disney movie Frozen, Kim Kardashian, Kaley Cuoco, Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Minecraft, and Ebola.  Clearly, we're fascinated by Hollywood and high tech, and afraid of diseases.

Notice what topic was missing: God.  Does this mean that the Lord is absent from the Internet?  Not at all.  According to the Barna Group, one third of all Millennials (adults ages 18-29) regularly view online videos pertaining to faith.  The number increases to more than half of Christian Millennials.

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