The last day of Christmas

Today Christmas is finally over.   Traditionally, the holiday lasted 12 days, and this is the twelfth.  So call it twelve drummers drumming day.  Or, to use the historical term, Twelfth Night, which is not only the name of a very good play but was a time of revelry and merry making.  So I wish you a Merry Christmas one more time for the season and a Merry Twelfth Night tonight!

Or are you weary of celebrating, satiated with all of the holiday feasting and eager to get back to normal?  We sort of have extended the Christmas festivities through twelve days, what with New Year’s Day revels, plus throwing in a long weekend, as this year.  But Molly Hemingway proposes that we change the way we celebrate Christmas by spreading it out over all 12 days. [Read more...]

Keeping Christmas

Have a merry and a happy Christmas, everybody.  May you. . .

  • Keep “Christ” in Christmas
  • Keep the “mass” in Christmas (by going to church)
  • Keep the “holy” in holidays
  • Keep St. Nicholas, who battled for the deity of Christ at the Council of Nicea, in Santa Claus.
  • Keep the gift of God in your Christmas gifts.

Thanks to all of you readers and commenters for your support of this blog over the past year.  May God, who was born as a baby and became one of us,  give you the joy of this season and bless you throughout the new year and always.

Mary, Did You Know?

As I’ve said before, the great challenge for an artist–whether an author, musician, painter, or whatever–in depicting Jesus Christ is how to portray Him as both God and Man.  In Christmas art, some work portrays Him in His humanness as a cute little baby.  Other work, such as the classic icons, show the Child as transcendent God.  Both are fine, conveying profound truths about who Christ is.  But the very best art about Christ somehow evokes BOTH His divinity and His humanity.

I have a candidate, a contemporary Christmas song, that pulls this off:  Mary, Did You Know? by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene.  Here are the lyrics.  After the jump, a video of my favorite performance of the song, the haunting version by Kathy Mattea. [Read more...]

Those who won’t give Christmas presents

Nearly one in four Americans (23%) will not exchange gifts for Christmas.  This includes  one out of five (20%) Christians.  The study does not say to what extent this rejection of the major way our culture celebrates the birth of Christ comes from principle, piety, impiety, Scroogism, poverty, age, or what.

Do any of you have the custom of not giving presents?  Please tell us about it. [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...]

Christmas Songs

Cheryl Magness offers Twelve Of The Best Christmas Songs You May Not Have Heard.  She includes YouTube videos of the performances, and listening to them is a Christmas meditation in itself.

What are your favorite Christmas songs?  Give them, along your criteria for what makes them so good.

HT:  Mary Moerbe