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I was happy to discover Pope Francis and I share the same Dec. 17 birthday. When I discovered that the pope celebrated his 77th birthday by inviting three homeless men to breakfast, I was even happier.
CHAMPAIGN — It was a heart-warming sight for Ellen Harms: Holy Cross School students walking in a big group to Daily Bread Soup Kitchen carrying backpacks stuffed with many of life's necessities to be given away to the homeless and needy of Champaign-Urbana.
"They were so proud to be bringing them in," said Harms, a Daily Bread board member.
The Christmas season never passes without me thinking of missionary friends I met more than 30 years ago. By the time I met Ron and Carolyn Butler in the early 1980s, they already had lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire) since 1961.
One Advent Sunday, when the blowing dust and snow mixed together to make our church building near the Kansas/Colorado border more imperceptible than it already was, our pastor had an idea. He decided it would be instructive for one of the high school church kids to read from the pulpit the genealogy from Matthew chapter one.
CHAMPAIGN — The weather outside was frightful Sunday evening, but it didn't prevent the members of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Champaign from putting on a live nativity scene as part of the seventh annual Nativity Walk.
Today begins Advent. I didn't even know what Advent was until I was 30 years old. Now it is my favorite season of the year. For more than 20 years, I have collected a box full of Advent books, readings and several advent wreaths.
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Live outdoor nativities:
GIFFORD — One week after a powerful tornado leveled a quarter of the town, destroyed 60 homes, damaged 200 more and hospitalized at least six people, the people of Gifford paused from their recovery efforts to give thanks.
One of my main prayers has just two words: Thank you. Around the dinner table we sing this simple prayer, "For health and strength and daily food, we praise your name, O Lord."