Considering I'm still trying to readjust to Real Life after the last few days of Christmas, I thought perhaps I should ease the blog back in with a post-Christmas wrap up...
First: Some good news... Bethlehem hosts cheerful Christmas
BETHLEHEM, West Bank - Gloom was banished from Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem for the first time in years on Monday as Christian pilgrims from all over the world flocked here to celebrate Jesus' birth in an atmosphere of renewed tranquility.
After Israeli-Palestinian fighting erupted in 2000, nearly all of the people milling around Manger Square in the center of this biblical town on Christmas had been local Palestinians. But this year, city hotels were packed with tourists.
Tiago Martins, 28, from Curitiba, Brazil, said he was visiting Jesus' traditional birthplace for the first time after new peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians reassured him he'd be safe.
There's also the obligatory Police officer delivers baby in a cab on Christmas Day
The holidays have a way of turning simple sadness into tragedy, chance encounters into magic, and mere good luck into a miracle. That was the case on Christmas Eve in Elmhurst, Queens, when a cab driver called 911 to report that his passenger was giving birth and he did not know the way to the nearest hospital.
One of the first people to reach the scene was Police Officer Ivy Dror, a certified emergency medical technician. Not only did Officer Dror, 23, help deliver a healthy baby girl, she handed a Polaroid camera to the cab driver and asked him to document the baby's first minutes.
Sadly, it was not all good news yesterday. Religious craziness still creates problems in the world, sometimes in the most unlikely places and from the most unlikely people. In India, Hindus attacked churches on Christmas
NEW DELHI - Hindu extremists attacked Christians celebrating Christmas in eastern India, ransacking and burning at least six village churches, officials said Wednesday. One person was killed in the violence.
Authorities in the remote district where the churches were attacked have deployed 450 police to quell the violence, which had tapered off by Wednesday, said Bahugrahi Mahapatra, a government official.
Sometimes it seems religion is the last refuge for the crazy, so they can have an excuse for their behavior. It can also be an excuse for (or a cause of?) stupidity, such as this story
DALLAS, Texas (CNN) -- If you turn to the Bible -- Isaiah Chapter 35, Verse 8 -- you will see a passage that in part says, "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness."
Now, is it possible that this "highway" mentioned in Chapter 35 is actually Interstate 35 that runs through six U.S. states, from southern Texas to northern Minnesota? Some Christians have faith that is indeed the case.
It was with that interesting belief in mind that we decided to head to Texas, the southernmost state in the I-35 corridor, to do a story about a prayer campaign called "Light the Highway."
Churchgoers in all six states recently finished 35 days of praying alongside Interstate 35, but the prayers are still continuing.
Some of the faithful believe that in order to fulfill the prophecy of I-35 being the "holy" highway, it needs some intensive prayer first...
Isaiah-35, I-35... get it?
I hope you find yourself in better shape to face the return of the work than I do...
Donut - my kingdom for a donut!