Daily Links, Dec. 20: It's all about Jesus

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Hard to believe we are a mere five days away from celebrating Christmas, and as the birth of our savior draws near, how fitting that he's all over the news.

First up, scientists in Italy have done more studies on the mysterious Shroud of Turin and concluded that there's no way it could be fake. If it were produced in the Middle Ages, as previous testing had suggested, the technology of the day couldn't have produced the images of the crucified man that appear on the shroud, the scientists say. Stories about whether or not the shroud is the real burial cloth of Jesus pop up every now and then, and I always find speculating about the shroud's authenticity to be a lot of fun. Stories about people seeing the face of Jesus on a paper towel, not so much.

From Christ's death to, appropriately for this time of year, his birth: the church marking the site of Jesus' birthplace is in serious need of repair, to the tune of 10 million euros.

More people talking about Jesus: Richard Schiffman at Huffington Post speculates on whether Jesus was a liberal. Others are pondering another important question: Who's better, Jesus or Santa (hint: Santa doesn't stand a chance in this one, even among those counting on him to fill their stockings this Saturday night).

And remember the SNL skit involving Jesus and Tim Tebow that we told you about yesterday? Well, Pat Robertson finds it offensive to Christians. Most of us just thought it was good natured fun.

And things are going pretty well for Jesus overall--yesterday, Pew Forum released a new study that shows he has 2.18 billion followers worldwide. Let's pray that all those Christians, wherever they may be, can celebrate the Lord's coming with peace and joy.