Christians around the world celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, which recalls the revelation of God in human form as Jesus Christ. Orthodox Christians in Istanbul reenacted the baptism of Jesus by diving into the Bosphorus River to retrieve a wooden cross. In Rome, Pope Francis marked Epiphany by paying a special visit to a live nativity scene. Last year he said priests should be “shepherds living with the smell of sheep,” and he seemed to take that to heart when a small lamb was placed on his shoulders, much to his apparent delight. And this week many Eastern Orthodox Christians held special Masses for Christmas, which on their calendar falls 13 days after Western Christians celebrate Christmas.
The Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat begins Wednesday night (January 15). The holiday celebrates the New Year for Trees, spring in Israel, Israeli fruits and nuts, and, more and more, protecting the environment all over the world.