Christmas Candy Jesus, Black Magi, Jewish Xmas

A 63-year-old man in Toledo found the image of the Virgin Mary and Jesus in a Christmas hard candy. European artists traditionally represented one of the magi as black. David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates Jr. have gathered these images together as part of their “The Image of the Black in Western Art.”

The Fed has reversed its ban on religious displays prompted by one bank in Oklahoma. Payne County Bank in Perkins, Oklahoma ran afoul a Kansas City Fed examiner who said the bank’s Christmas displays and Christian symbols could be regarded as discriminatory. A county in Indiana is fighting to keep its nativity scene up: “If we let them do this, let them take Christmas away, what’s next?… If you ruffle the feathers of the people of Franklin County, you better be ready to fight because they know how to counter punch.” Elsewhere in Indiana, a group of worshipers celebrate Christmas in a small one-room white frame church with no electricity. I’m dreaming of a simple Christmas.

‘Simple Gifts’ is this year’s holiday theme at the White House.

A new survey from a Christian research group finds that only 37% of Americans include Jesus in their Christmas festivities. One small group of Christians think this enough to warrant executing Santa. Jolly ole St. Nicholas’ home town was in Turkey and the town of Demre is cashing in on their favorite son.

The story of the nativity through social networks.

Jamaicans are using the first patois version of the Gospel of Luke in this year’s Christmas celebrations. Under continued threat from al-Qaeda, Iraqi Christians leaders have canceled Christmas celebrations. A holiday flash mob in California forced an evacuation when the 5,000 singers and their audience caused the floor and foundation of the food court to move and creak.

Finally, Christmas isn’t for everyone. Tablet offers four different approaches Jewish families take to Christmas in America.