Friday Five: Baby Jesus thefts, 'Charlie Brown Christmas,' Jews help refugees, RNS wins 'Jeopardy'

Most weeks, Friday Five wraps up the week in religion reporting.

But here’s a secret about this week: I’ve been mostly away from my computer screen, celebrating Christmas with my family.

So there’s an excellent chance I’ve missed important and/or interesting news in the world of the Godbeat. In that case, please don’t hesitate to share links in the comments section or by tweeting us at @GetReligion.

In the meantime, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: In case you missed it in the midst of your own holiday festivities, I wrote earlier this week about the New York Times’ front-page Sunday feature on a national trend of Baby Jesus being swiped from Nativity scenes.

I particularly loved the story’s dateline, which I thought was brilliant: Bethlehem, Pa.

In related coverage, McClatchy had this intriguing headline on the day after Christmas:

Church called bomb squad for package. It was a baby Jesus statue stolen 90 years ago

Check out the story.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: Keeping with the Christmas theme, a think piece by editor Terry Mattingly tops our most-clicked list this week.

In that post, tmatt offers an “America magazine flashback: Yes, 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' is really, really strange”:

I wish I could write a column every year or so about that 1965 Peanuts special. There are so many angles and subplots in the twisted story of how this now legendary show was a long shot to reach America’s TV screens — especially with Linus reciting the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke. Oh, and the principalities and powers also thought the jazz soundtrack would flop with Middle America.

That’s just the start.

Give the entire post a read.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): Jerome Socolovsky, former editor-in-chief for Religion News Service, is back with another reported piece for NPR.

Socolovsky tells the story of a Virginia synagogue that helped an Iraqi refugee — a Muslim single mother — settle in the U.S., and the makes a connection with the mass shooting during Sabbath prayers in Pittsburgh two months ago.

4. Shameless plug: Here’s another GetReligion post that you might have missed during Christmas week.

Clemente Lisi writes about the “Catholic angle” in those Notre Dame football stories.

Notre Dame is one of four teams in the College Football Playoff. The others are Alabama, Clemson and my home-state Oklahoma Sooners. (If the Sooners win, you heard it here first. If they lose, as expected, forget I mentioned it.)

5. Final thought: If you won money on “Jeopardy,” what would you do with it?

Nicole Neroulias donated her winnings to RNS, where she serves on the board of managers.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Enjoy the last weekend of 2018!

Image via Pixabay.com

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