Dear Friends,

The great season of Advent, a time of waiting and preparation for Christians in anticipation of Christ’s birth, is about to begin.

One beautiful way of reflecting on this season is to think about the first Advent, when an expectant Mary and her husband Joseph awaited the birth of God’s Son. For expectant mothers and soon-to-be fathers, pregnancy is often a time when careful preparations are made around the house for the coming baby—the nursery is rearranged to accommodate cribs and changing tables, diapers and wipes are stockpiled, baby clothes are carefully organized in drawers, linens are freshly washed, etc.

In the same way, Christians should spend Advent carefully preparing their hearts and minds for the coming of the Savior. This can take on the form of a kind of spiritual reinforcement and house cleaning—spending a little extra time in prayer each morning to prepare ourselves to live for Christ in the day before us, and to make peace with anyone we may have ill will toward and repent of our sins. Just as soon-to-be parents desire to make their home as clean and comfortable as possible for their newborn, Christians should desire to prepare and cleanse their hearts to fully welcome the coming Christ child. This may require us to detach ourselves from worldly attachments to obtain the true freedom that God desires for us. Is a nightly TV-watching habit cutting in to our prayer and family time? Is a regular habit of eating out cutting in to our budget so that we have less for gift-giving and those in need?

Thinking about the first Advent is also to contemplate the Holy Family traveling from Galilee to Bethlehem, and the difficult journey that must have been for them. Imagine the exhaustion that Mary must have felt in her third trimester on such a long and arduous journey over rough roads on the back of a donkey, with Joseph enduring mile after mile of dust and rocks in leading her and the animal along. Amongst this shared suffering and journeying, the Holy Family must have grown ever closer to each other. In the same way, Advent is an opportunity for us to draw ever closer to our own families. Maybe this could take the form of creating hand-crafted gifts for loved ones, baking Christmas cookies, assembling care packages for those serving in the military, or perhaps joining a Christmas carol troupe that your church has organized—the point here is to spend quality time together as a family doing acts of service and growing in virtue.

The season of Advent points to the coming of our Lord. Let us make the most of this wonderful time and prepare our hearts to receive the perfect gift of Christ.

Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.

Sincerely,

Dan Hart
Managing Editor for Publications
Family Research Council

 

FRC Articles

LGBT advocates seek to scuttle a vital Constitutional right – Travis Weber

ACLU: Forcing Faith Out of Adoption – Travis Weber

Love to Give: An Adoption Story – Alison Contreras

Adoption: Multi-Racial, Multi-National, Heaven-Blessed – Rob Schwarzwalder

The Unexpected Blessing of Adoption – Harold Harper

10th Circuit Lets Police Officers Off the Hook After Telling Woman She Could Not Pray in Her Own Home – Travis Weber and Natalie Pugh

Why It Is Unnecessary to Force Jack Phillips to Bake a Wedding Cake – Travis Weber

 

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

2 Gay Men Explain Why They Support Baker’s Refusal to Make Same-Sex Wedding Cakes – Ian Snively and Peter Parisi, The Daily Signal

Stop Misrepresenting Masterpiece Cakeshop – David French, National Review

Designated haters – Juliana Chan Erikson, WORLD

UNL campus not ‘safe’ for conservatives, public records revealConservative Review

Why the Conscience Protection Act is critical – Jeff Pickering, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Little Sisters of the Poor Are Returning to Court – Rachel del Guidice, The Daily Signal

GOP senators defend military officer disciplined for refusing to sign same-sex certificate – Diana Stancy Correll, Washington Examiner

American Muslims, Lot’s Wife, and the Christian Baker – Ismail Royer, Public Discourse

International Religious Freedom

The UN doesn’t recognize the Christian genocide in Iraq. This new documentary does. – Miriam Diez Bosch, Aleteia

Canada rejects Christian couple for adoption – Kiley Crossland, WORLD

Africans Put Parental Rights Back in UN Sex Ed Policy – Stefano Gennarini, C-Fam

Repairing the Ravages of ISIS on Iraq’s Nineveh Plains – George J. Marlin, The Catholic Thing

Military Religious Freedom

Senators Cruz, Rubio demand justice for Air Force colonel fired for standing up for pro-family values – Fr. Mark Hodges, LifeSiteNews

 

Life

Abortion

World-famous supermodel gracefully obliterates every argument for abortion – Save the Storks

Abortion rates in US hit historic low, CDC report finds – Fox News

The push to force pro-life centers to provide free advertising for the abortion industry – Ken Connelly, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

It’s Official: Arkansas Cuts Medicaid Funding for Planned Parenthood – Jerry Cox, Arkansas Family Council

Adoption

Let Foster Children Wait No MoreNational Review

10 Things You Should Know about Adoption – Russell D. Moore, Crossway

Do you believe these 5 myths about adoption? – Sophia Swinford, Aleteia

‘Open your heart’: Adoptive mom debunks three modern adoption myths – Natalie Brumfield, Live Action

Bioethics

Basic Bioethics: What Christians should know about surrogacy – Joe Carter, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Overlooked Risks of Surrogacy for Women – Mary Rose Somarriba, Family Studies

From Darwin to Iceland: The Eugenic Solution to the ‘Undesirable’ – Roberto Rivera, The Stream

 

Family

Economics/Education

Undoing the Dis-Education of Millennials – Adam J. MacLeod, NewBostonPost

This may be one of the biggest benefits to marriage we’ve ever seen – Catey Hill, Moneyish

The state of marriage as an institutionThe Economist

Marriage

Over One-Quarter of Children Under Age 18 Live With One Parent – U.S. Census Bureau

When Your Partner Is Down and Can’t Get Up – Glen Scrivener, The Gospel Coalition

Understanding Your Feelings to Stay Connected In Your Marriage – David and Jan Stoop, Focus on the Family

Can Marriage Help Prevent Dementia? – Carolyn Moynihan, Intellectual Takeout

Your Spouse Doesn’t Need Your Unconditional Support – Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, Christianity Today

Why I Stopped Comparing My Marriage to My Parents’ Marriage – Laura Triggs, Verily

Faith/Character/Culture

Netflix Thinks You’re Bored and Lonely – Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition

Do You Talk to Your Children About Race? – Trillia Newbell, Desiring God

This Is a More Important Goal Than Being Happy – Julia Hogan, Verily

3 Creative and impressive ways people are helping the homeless – Elizabeth Pardi, Aleteia

Politics is About More Than Winning – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream

Jesus: the Heart of Christian Morality – Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek, The Catholic Thing

4 things I want a new mom to know – Jill Waggoner, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Human Sexuality

You Can Protect Your Kids from Hyper-Sexualized Culture – Eliza Powell, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

How to talk to your kids about sexual assault and harassment scandals – Phillip Bethancourt, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Seven Questions for Couples to Consider Before Moving In Together – Rhonda Kruse Nordin, Family Studies

Men, Stop Virtue-Signaling and Return to Rules – Ben Shapiro, National Review

Let’s rethink sex – Christine Emba, The Washington Post

Scam Artists and Sex Education – Carl R. Trueman, First Things

Consent is Not Enough: Harvey Weinstein, Sex, and Human Flourishing – Angela Franks, Public Discourse

The Pragmatic Benefits of God-Given Sexual Boundaries – Melinda Penner, The Stream

Human Trafficking

Tackling Modern-Day Slavery, Online Sex Trafficking – Lisa L. Thompson, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Pornography

Porn Epidemic Hampers Fight Against Child Pornography – Stefano Gennarini, C-Fam

The Pathway from Porn to Adultery – Kent Butterfield, Desiring God

Porn is the Missing Piece in the Louis C.K. Story – Mary Rose Somarriba, Public Discourse

Behind the harassment scandals, another dirty little secret: pornography – Zac Crippen, Los Angeles Times

Louisiana is the 5th State to Formally Recognize Public Health Harms of Pornography – National Center on Sexual Exploitation