Christmas and Epiphany, Birth and Baptism

You may have noticed an interesting theological debate currently under way among evangelicals. Critiquing the New Testament evidence for the Virgin Birth, Atlanta megachurch pastor Andy Stanley ventured the opinion that “Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories around the birth of Jesus. It really hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.” This [Read More…]

Dispelling Darkness: A Christian Paradox

Tis the season. Christmas music is everywhere. I’m not a complete Grinch when it comes to Christmas music, but really… “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”? So much wrong with this… I do sing Rudolf and Frosty with my kids, and I actually enjoy listening to my daughter pound out carol after carol from her beginning piano [Read More…]

A Very Nazi Christmas

Under National Socialism, Christmas in Germany featured a mix of de-Christianized traditions, neopagan rituals, and gendered stereotypes. [Read more…]

The Christmas Truce of 1914: Myth and History

On December 24-25, 1914, soldiers on both sides of World War I put down their weapons and celebrated the birth of Christ. But as moving as the story is, the Christmas Truce actually exemplifies that “history is impossible but necessary.” [Read more…]

The First Bath

Shepherds, magi, the ox and the ass… how can you say anything new about the Christmas scene? Through much of Christian history, there was actually a lot more to the story, mainly derived from the second century “Infancy Gospel of James,” the Protevangelium. This told elaborate stories of the birth, many involving the midwife, Salome. [Read More…]

Christmas in 1776

From the Patheos archive: ‘Tis the season to argue about religion. Or more specifically, to feud about whether to say Merry Christmas or Seasons Greetings…to call it a Christmas Village or a Holiday Village…or to allow a crèche or menorah to stand on public property. What would Americans at the time of our nation’s founding [Read More…]

1647: The Year Christians Cancelled Christmas

Well, I am overstating a bit. No one can really cancel Christmas, as the Grinch so famously discovered. But the public celebration of Christmas can be cancelled, which is what happened in England during the seventeenth-century Civil War. Here’s the story in brief–as related by Diane Purkiss in The English Civil War: While Charles I [Read More…]

Because Xmas really is Xpian…

I literally stumbled across St. Bride’s church in London this summer. Walking down Fleet Street toward St. Paul’s Cathedral, I was considering eating at Ye Olde Chesire Cheese when I looked up and saw the wedding cake spire designed by Christopher Wren. It wasn’t until I saw the sign “The Printer’s Church” on the gate, [Read More…]

George Whitefield’s Christmas, 1739

As we observed George Whitefield’s 300th birthday last week, here’s a post on his 1739 Christmas travels and preaching, from the Anxious Bench archive: In December 1739, George Whitefield was completing a treacherous overland trip from Maryland to South Carolina, and he stopped for Christmas in New Bern (“Newborn”), a relatively new parish in North [Read More…]

Was Christmas in Revolutionary America a Drunken Bash?

Our modern American Christmas is an anxious affair—and not just because of “those” relatives you don’t want to see. We so constantly remind ourselves to focus on Christ during Christmas that “The reason for the season” has become an American Christian mantra. In light of our annual December anxiety, I find it strangely comforting that [Read More…]