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Children in  a nativity play in a Catholic school (AP)

The end of the Christmas play would be a great shame

Michael Caine as Scrooge in The Muppet's Christmas Carol

The antidote to social media malaise this Advent is to spend some time in silence

‘My own veritable Joseph handed me his credit card and left me to it in Mothercare’  (PA)

This year I am experiencing Advent from a fresh angle, from Mary’s remarkable perspective as an expectant mother

George Clooney is set to star in a special charity episode of Downton Abbey (CNS)

The Orthodox guide to surviving Advent

There’s no need to adopt their fasting rules, but we can learn quite a bit from the Russians’ preparations for Christmas

Archbishop Bernard Longley (Mazur/

Archbishop Longley, praising a Nativity exhibition, says story ‘needs to be retold’

A scene from John Lewis's 'Monty the Penguin' advert Below: Sainsburys' First World War effort

Christmas has become so debased in Britain perhaps it should be renamed to avoid confusion with the real thing

Pope Francis greeting  Patti Smith last year (CNS)

Smith met Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square last year

Not until February 1, at any rate

The booze fast is not just about saving our livers; people have a need for feasts and fasts

Those unfamiliar with the liturgy should be instructed by the priest when to stand and when to kneel, says Fr Lucie-Smith (CNS)

People who only very rarely go to Mass must find their annual or biennial trip to Church alienating and confusing

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi blessing (AP)

Francis prays for peace in Syria, Iraq and South Sudan in Urbi et Orbi message