Your Bethlehem; your manger

More from Pastor Douthwaite’s Epiphany Sunday sermon, which pointed out that the Wise Men were not really seeking Christ.   He was seeking them.  And us.  And that we too have a Bethlehem, and we too find Christ in a manger. [Read more…]

Epiphany as both theological and literary term

Today is Epiphany, a day and a season in the church year that I especially appreciate, old English teacher that I am, since the name is both a theological and a literary term.  I explain that after the jump in a post from four years ago. [Read more…]

Why Christmas is on December 25

Touchstone has reposted its most popular article, the scholarly treatment by historian William J. Tighe from 2003 about why the birth of Jesus is celebrated on December 25.  And, as he definitively shows, it has nothing to do with any pagan festival. [Read more…]

Lessons And Carols

“Lessons and Carols” is a Christmas service consisting of nine Bible readings punctuated by the singing of Christmas carols.  It’s a simple service that goes back to 1918 featuring the choir of King’s College in Cambridge, which has been performing it every year except 1930 ever since.   BBC began broadcasting it in 1928, and listening to it on Christmas Eve has become a tradition for many citizens of Great Britain and its Commonwealth.   Churches often put it on.  So do Christian colleges.  But many families do it themselves for family devotions.  (For more background, go here and here.)

Cheryl Magness writes about it in the Federalist and says what it means to her and her family.  I’ll link to it after the jump and give her “Five Reasons” to attend a Lessons & Carols service.  She also says where you can listen to it live from King’s College on December 24 at 10:00 a.m., replayed at other times. [Read more…]

He will build you a House

We are on the road for Christmas, and we worshipped on the last Sunday of Advent at the church where my son-in-law is the pastor.  (As of now, our Advent Christmas embargo is over.)   Rev. Ned Moerbe preached on the Old Testament text for the day, 2 Samuel 7, in which David had the idea of building God a house; that is, a permanent Temple to replace the Tabernacle tent that the children of Israel had used as the place of sacrifice since the Exodus.  But God, through Nathan the prophet, tells David not to build Him a house; that He would build David a house, an eternal house, prophesying the perpetual reign of  David’s descendant, the Christ.

In the course of the sermon, we were told that the custom in the ancient Biblical cultures was when a couple was betrothed, they waited to get married until the groom built his bride a house for them to live in, either a separate structure or an addition to a family home.  This would probably have been the case with Joseph–whose profession as a carpenter, in the original languages, was not so much a builder of furniture but a builder of houses–and Mary, his betrothed.  And this speaks to us of Advent. . . [Read more…]

Christianity Today’s 2015 Book Awards

Christianity Today has announced its 2015 Book Awards.   Two titles are recognized in the categories of Apologetics/Evangelism, Biblical Studies, Christianity & Culture, Christian Living, The Church/Pastoral Leadership, Fiction, History & Biography, Missions/Global Affairs, Spirituality, Theology/Ethics, Her.Meneutics.  See the list and a little about each title here.

In my experience, this is usually a very good list, alerting me each year to some titles worth reading.  I was a judge, actually, and I was glad to see that my top two choices in the culture category were chosen.  You can see those after the jump.  But go ahead to the main site for the entire list.

The descriptions of these two book are excerpted from longer reviews.  Later, I’ll post my full reviews so that you can see why these books are so good. [Read more…]