Friday 25 November 2011

Christian Reflection on the Christmas and Epiphany

The latest issue of Christian Reflection, published by the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, is now available, this one devoted to the topic of Christmas and Epiphany. The whole issue is available as a pdf here, and an accompanying Study Guide is available here. The main articles, with their abstracts, are as follows:

Robert B. Kruschwitz


How should the Church’s first cycle of preparation, celebration, and rejoicing – Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany – mold our discipleship? We explore the original trajectories of Christmastide (the twelveday season of Christmas) and Epiphany, so we can celebrate them faithfully and winsomely today.

Joseph F. Kelly

The Birth of Christmas

Christmas enjoys such a prominent place among modern believers that only with difficulty can we picture an age when Christians did not celebrate it. How did a feast commemorating and honoring Jesus’ birth come into being, and what elements of that feast can we draw upon?

Donald Heinz

Christmas and the Clash of Civilizations

Christmas magnifies a clash of civilizations between Christianity and consumer capitalism – each making religious claims about the meaning of life. In the consumer Christmas, the Incarnation is reversed. Human attention drifts to the materials that claim to be good instead of the Good that claims to be material.

David W. Music


The singing of carols reminds us that God, in his love for us, sent his Son to be one of us. Just as that first Christmas was marked by singing, so Christians through the centuries have celebrated and borne witness through song to the coming of the Messiah.

Emilie Griffin

The Color of Christmas Extended

The Christmas season through the feast of Epiphany is twelve days and more to ponder and receive the grace of Incarnation. It is a banquet for the affections, a time to glory in the amazing story of Christ incarnate, the full meaning of the Trinity in Christmas dress.

Steven R. Harmon

Seeing Epiphany Whole

Epiphany can seem like a cacophonous party marking disjointed events: the Magi’s visit to Bethlehem, Christ’s baptism by John, and Christ’s miracle at the wedding at Cana. What ties together this wealth of images?

Amber and John Inscore Essick

Distinctive Traditions of Epiphany

The Epiphany feast completes the season of Christmas by inviting us to discern the identity of the Christ child. Three traditions – baking a Kings’ Cake, marking a door lintel with the Magi’s blessing, and elaborating worship with lighted candles – help us interpret the Christmas season appropriately.

Michael J. Clingenpeel

A Feast Worthy of Devout Celebration

“The whole Church of the Gentiles has adopted this day as a feast worthy of most devout celebration,” Augustine wrote in his sermon on Epiphany in 412. Sixteen hundred years later, Augustine’s sermon on the Magi reminds us of important Epiphany truths.

William D. Shiell

When Grace Appears

The book of Titus sees the flash of the glorious, unexpected appearance – or epiphany – of Christ beginning a transformation that continues throughout the whole of our lives. We are to become students following a new curriculum of grace, reflecting the difference Christ’s presence makes in the world.

G. Sujin Pak

The History of Christmas

Ever wonder how December 25th became the date to celebrate Christmas, or the history behind Santa Claus? Did you know that Christians in the first three centuries of the Church did not celebrate Christmas? These questions and many more are answered in the four books reviewed here.

Mark J. Suderman

Choral Music for Christmas

Choral music plays a key role in how we experience the Christmas season. The CDs reviewed here, focusing on the work of ten choirs, are excellent staples for a music library. Each contains outstanding choral literature to enhance public worship and stir celebration of the Nativity.

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